Former bureaucrat RVS Mani has alleged that the changes in the second Ishrat Jahan affidavit "were made at the political level by the then UPA government" and that he was "tortured" to sign it, the Times of India reported on Tuesday.
Mani, former under secretary (Internal Security) in the Union home ministry and the man who signed the two affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan case, told Times Now in an interview that he was tortured by Satish Verma – the special investigation team (SIT) chief in the case – and used as a “rubber stamp” by the government.
Mani has even accused Verma of burning him with cigarettes. He also claimed that he had not drafted the second affidavit in which the LeT reference was dropped, and that he did sign it because he was “given an order to go and file it”.
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According to the ToI report, the UPA government had submitted two affidavits in the case. The first affidavit said that the four people, including Ishrat, who were killed in an encounter, were terrorists. However, in the second affidavit, filed within two months of the first, the government said that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that they were terrorists, the report added.
Former home secretary G K Pillai had also alleged that the second affidavit was drafted at the political level in a recent interview.
In the interview, Mani, accepting that he had drafted the first affidavit, said that it was “based on available facts”. “All the information available in the files were coherently put in a sequence,” Mani added.
Asked about whether he believed that the people killed in the encounter were terrorists, Mani said that he believed in “documents and papers on record”.
Mani stopped short of naming the then home minister P Chidambaram as the author of the second affidavit. However, when asked about its authorship, Mani told Times Now that “the home secretary is the highest serving officer in the home ministry. There is no officer senior to him in the ministry.
So if, up to his level if it has not been drafted, then you can draw the conclusion that it was someone above him”. Responding to another question, Mani added that only the home minister was senior to the home secretary and so it was possible to conclude that the home minister may have authored or dictated the affidavit.
When asked if there had been any political pressure on him, Mani told Times Now, “Madam, I was asked to go and file it, so I went and filed it. It was an order for me. The conduct rules for us is very clear that if I am ordered something, I have to go and execute it. Rule 3 of the CCS conduct rules is very clear about it. I cannot refuse.”
Asked about an affidavit filed by him, where he had alleged that he was “tortured” by SIT chief Satish Verma, Mani alleged that the whole sequence of events and the hardships he faced had led to the early deaths of his parents.
“So many officers, so many people chased me everywhere,” Mani said.
When asked about Verma directly, Mani said that he was “not collecting evidence, he was engineering evidence”.
Responding to a question on whether the then UPA government had been hounding him, Mani said that it was the “obvious” conclusion.RVS Mani, former under secretary, MHA, exclusive interview with Times Now (Video: Times Now)