Archive for the ‘Mainstream Media’ Category

Tale of 2 Affidavits: Pakistani Media’s Crooked Twist in the Tale.

19 July 2013
Whatever the truth or untruth of allegations made by R V S Mani, who, in 2009, was working as undersecretary (IS-VI) looking after counterterrorism in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA); the Pakistani media and blogosphere has gone hyper ballistic with the news on “2001 Parliament attack” for which Afzal Guru was hanged without notice to his family as per the norms, and on “2008 Mumbai terror attacks”.
In 2009, Mani had submitted two affidavits barely two months apart on behalf of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the Gujarat High Court in what has come to be known as “Ishrat Jahan Encounter case”. In the first affidavit MHA had claimed that “Ishrat had terrorist links”. The second affidavit stated that “Ishrat was suspected to have terrorist links”. Since Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been tasked by Gujarat High Court to investigate if the encounter was fake and if yes, submit a charge-sheet, it had summoned Mani to depose at Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 22nd June 2013 as to why the two affidavits differed on this “crucial” issue. Two days after his return to Delhi, Mani wrote to his boss in the ministry of urban development, where he is currently working as deputy secretary land and development, that he was coerced during his interrogation by a Gujarat Police IPS officer, Satish Chandra Verma, who was part of SIT-CBI, to “indict” his superiors in 2009 at MHA; and further Verma allegedly told him that “Parliament and Mumbai attacks were orchestrated by government in power”. This story has acquired a deliberate or a careless but grotesque spin in Pakistani Media. See The Tribune, Pakistan.
The Tribune blog (Pakistan) revolved only around this spin, but Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat did a more detailed job writing for The News (Pakistan), where he provides account of Sebastian D’Souza, a picture (sic, photo) editor at the Mumbai Mirror, but makes similar mistakes.
The two articles have erroneously read or have mischievously interpreted that what Mani alleged “in his letter” had been stated by him in an affidavit submitted to the court. The News doesn’t identify “the court”, but the tribune blog says “Supreme Court”. Tribune blog identifies “Times of India story” as its source. If one reads the TOI story fully, it is hard to imagine why it got so grossly misinterpreted and misrepresented in Pakistani press. If at all a fault has to be found, then one may safely apportion the blame on the carelessly drafted second paragraph of the story.
The lazy insertion of “highlighted portion” talking of “affidavits” to establish Mani’s role relevant to the encounter case, but just before “..has said that Satish Verma… told him that both the terror attacks were set up “with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation (sic)””, had the potential of “misleading unwary reader” that Mani had put in his affidavits submitted to the court what Verma had allegedly told him. Mani had submitted affidavits in 2009, and Mani has alleged that Verma told him his “inputs” on 22nd June 2013. The two events separated by almost four years fused into one in fervid imagination of Pakistani Media, and has set Pakistani blogosphere agog with wild speculations and jubilations of “I told you so……”.
Curious as this clumsy shift in stand of UPA government at center may look but it was informed by two considerations, one of which was most crucial and beyond its powers. Between the two affidavits, the first on 6th August and the second on 30th September 2009, came on 7th September the much awaited enquiry report (ER) into the encounter by Metropolitan Magistrate S P Tamang, who held, “the Ahmedabad police guilty of perpetrating the “cold blooded murder” of 19-year-old Ishrat, Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani. In his 243-page hand-written report, Tamang not only rubbished the police claim of their LeT links but also accused the then Police Commissioner K R Kaushik, Crime Branch Chief P P Pandey, his then deputy D G Vanzara, who is at present in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case and encounter specialist Tarun Borat of killing the four for personal interest like promotions and earning the appreciation of Chief Minister Modi”. That ER acted like a proverbial bull in the China-shop of UPA government’s “first affidavit” that supported Gujarat Police’s story. Seeing that its agency, Intelligence Bureau’s, “intelligence inputs” are likely to be severely tested under judicial scrutiny, and also aware of the fact that opposition BJP’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi headed the Gujarat government; UPA government at center decided to play politics and attempted to wash its hands off the whole affair. This craven self-serving “play” has directly caused what looks like a slug fight between IB and CBI today. The copy of the first MHA affidavit below is sourced from Citizens for Justice and Peace website as also the translation of the report of Magistrate Enquiry ordered under Section 176 of Criminal Procedure Code and conducted by S P Tamang. The copy of the second affidavit couldn’t be sourced on the internet, and therefore corroborating excerpts from Hindustan Times and Indian Express are produced below.

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