David Headley, a double agent of the FBI and the Lashkar, who has secured a plea bargain for himself in the US, which allows him the luxury to refuse being questioned by Indian agencies, has suddenly become the ace in the IB’s arsenal. Since the CBI filed its chargesheet, clearly stating that its investigations were uncovering a sordid plot involving high level officers in the IB and the Gujarat Crime Branch who abducted the college student Ishrat Jahan along with her employer (and not her’ accomplice’, ‘friend’ or ‘lover’, as several egregious reports are trying to make out), there has been deluge of stories flogging old, tired and condemned angles in order to revive the chances for the safe exit of some senior officers in the IB.
A story rightfully ignored till some days ago has become prime time news precisely for this reason. This is the claim that David Headley had said to the NIA that he knew of Ishrat’s terror links. Forget about the fact that the NIA Interrogation report did not include these ‘claims’. You are also expected to forget that in May 2011, on the direction of Gujarat High Court, the NIA had already dismissed these reports as baseless.
1) David Headley came to India first in 2006, two years after Ishrat had been killed, and after her mother had moved the courts for an enquiry into the fake encounter.
2) The so-called missing paragraph quotes Headley saying that Lakhvi introduced him to Muzzamil in 2005 and told him that amongst his many botched up operations was the Ishrat Jahan module. However, elsewhere in the NIA report (the one that is available in the public domain, not the secret, non existent one, leaked to journalists by IB) Headley says that he knew Muzzamil from 2002 onwards.
3) How did the IB officers have access to Headley’s testimony to NIA recorded in 2010 to be used in an ‘operation’ in 2004?
4) Further, some newspapers have even quoted Headley’s statement to FBI “as quoted by IB”, which refers Ishrat being recruited as a potential bomber. Does IB have a special hotline with the FBI? Most recently, just days ago in fact, US has turned down the possibility of further interrogation of Headley by Indian investigators. The former Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, had earlier rued that there was little cooperation from the US agencies on Headley.
Time is running out for the guilty. And they know it well. Therefore, these desperate measures to plant stories, which would, if nothing else, malign Ishrat’s reputation. They hope that these manufactured stories would have the effect of creating a counter opinion and ultimately vitiating the investigation.
Just as those fake tapes of conversations, which were first aired and then quietly buried because the High Court threw them out, these revelations will too meet the same fate. It is for the media houses and journalists to decide if they wish to be on the side of truth or if they want to become conduits for those wanting to silence the truth.
Justice for Ishrat Campaign
6th July 2013.