New Delhi: Home Ministry officials today said their position that Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004 in Gujarat, was a terrorist has been vindicated by the statement of Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley before a Mumbai court.
However, Headley's disclosures on Ishrat carry little evidential value as his statement was based on hearsay, which carries no weight even though he was making the statement under Section 164 CrPC, which is admissible in a court of law, they feel.
Besides, Headley's statement has to be endorsed by someone like LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi which is not going to come.
Headley's statement will not help the CBI, which had probed the alleged fake encounter as the probe agency investigated only about the June 2004 incident and not about whether the 19-year-old Mumbra girl was an LeT member or not, unnamed officials said.
The CBI had named in its charge sheet former Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau Rajinder Kumar and three other IB officials with murder and criminal conspiracy in the Ishrat encounter case.
However, the Home Ministry had denied sanction to prosecute the IB officials.
In his testimony before a Mumbai court today, Headley reportedly said that Ishrat was actually an LeT operative.
Testifying via video-link from the US, Headley spilled the beans on Ishrat from Mumbra near Mumbai and picked up her name when quizzed by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam about a "botched up operation" mentioned to him (Headley) by Lakhvi.
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 city crime branch had then said that those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The CBI, which took over the probe from the Gujarat High Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), had filed a charge sheet in August 2013 saying that the encounter was fake and executed in joint operation by the city crime branch and Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIT).