New Delhi: The official behind the home ministry affidavits that have fuelled a fresh political battle over the Ishrat Jehan case has alleged that he was tortured with cigarette butts and hounded by the CBI almost to the point that he wanted to quit.
- RVS Mani, former under secretary, was in charge of Ishrat case affidavits
- Mani accuses CBI officer Satish Verma of hounding him to change affidavit
- Mani alleges CBI wanted him to say 1st affidavit filed under IB pressure
The two affidavits form the core of the ruling BJP's allegation that former home minister P Chidambaram manipulated the Ishrat case for political reasons that include targeting Narendra Modi.
"In 2013 I was hauled up and harassed," RVS Mani, who was under secretary in the Chidambaram-led Home Ministry, said today. He said he was tortured by CBI officer Satish Verma.
"He... started narrating nonsense, became physical...He had put cigarette butts on my thighs," alleged the retired bureaucrat.
Mr Mani's name was on the two affidavits that the home ministry submitted before the Gujarat High Court in 2009 on the killing of 19-year-old Ishrat Jehan and three others by Gujarat police officers who claimed they were terrorists plotting to kill then Chief Minister Mr Modi.
But the official says he drafted only the first one dated August 6, which quoted intelligence and media reports to say that Ishrat was a "woman activist of the Lashkar-e-Taiba."
The very next month, a revised affidavit said there was no conclusive proof that Ishrat was a terrorist.
"I filed the first affidavit, which was approved by the home minister and the home secretary. What was the reason for the second affidavit, I don't know," said Mr Mani.
He alleges that the CBI tried to make him say that he drafted the first affidavit under pressure from the Intelligence Bureau.
The official alleges that he was "harassed, hounded, chased and stalked" by the CBI, which he also recorded in a written complaint to his seniors.
GK Pillai, who was Home Secretary at the time, has alleged that Mr Chidambaram bypassed him, called a lower functionary in the Intelligence Bureau and "totally rewrote" the Ishrat affidavit.
The BJP has accused Mr Chidambaram of following his Congress party's instructions to project that Ishrat was an innocent student killed in cold blood with the blessings of the Gujarat government.