Union minister Kiren Rijiju today accused former Home Minister P Chidambaram of making a "delirious attempt to escape" in the Ishrat Jahan controversy by saying an Under Secretary had signed the second affidavit contradicting an earlier submission that the 19-year-old girl, killed in an alleged fake encounter, was an LeT activist.
"It is a delirious attempt to escape. An Under Secretary signs in an affidavit only after the minister approves," Rijiju told reporters here.
He was reacting to Chidambaram's comments on the controversy surrounding the change in affidavits done during the latter's tenure as the Home Minister, saying, "The Home Minister does not sign affidavits. It is signed by an Under Secretary."
"National security compromised is too serious an issue to be diverted. Congress can't divert it with an aberrant excuse. For how long will Congress protect a terrorist?" Rijiju asked.
Chidambaram had also said that the affidavit controversy was to "divert attention" from the real issue, which is whether it was a "fake" encounter or not.
Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The Gujarat Police had then said that those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in the state to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The first affidavit, filed in the Gujarat High Court based on inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau, said that Ishrat, from Mumbai outskirts, was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist, but it was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.
The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist.
BJP alleged Chidambaram was "merely a pawn in the conspiracy to 'fix' Narendra Modi, of which Sonia Gandhi was the main conspiractor" and is "now lying to save" the top Congress leadership at whose behest everything was planned.
The party's National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said, "These are Congress' tactics to divert attention from the conspiracy of which Sonia Gandhi is the mastermind in fixing Narendra Modi ahead of last Lok Sabha polls.
"Congress has been caught in its own web and stands exposed and is trying to divert attention from the issue to save Sonia Gandhi," he said.