Prime minister Narendra Modi has reduced the extension period sought into the probe of Ishrat Jahan missing files by home minister Rajnath Singh. Senior IAS officer, BK Prasad who probed the case and was recently in news for “tutoring” a witness will now get two months instead of the three-month period asked by home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.
A letter written by home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, to cabinet secretary PK Sinha, stated that “finding Prasad’s replacement will not be easy and changing the officer, will set the clock back by almost three months.” It is on this basis, Mehrishi seeks an extension and has said that the probe is “highly sensitive” and may be discussed in the Parliament.
Prasad, was recently in news for allegedly “tutoring” witness Ashok Kumar, a former Director in the MHA, to say he had not seen any of the missing documents. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had processed the request for Prasad’s extension which was approved by the Prime Minister for only two months till July 31. Prasad was facing an enquiry in connection with the issue of missing papers from the file dealing with the filing of affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case. The enquiry which had begun on March 14, 2016 ended in June 15, 2016.
Prasad, a 1983 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, was due to retire on May 31.Considering these circumstances and the public interest involved, the Home Minister had earlier approved the proposal for granting extension in service to Prasad for a period of three months, beyond May 31, 2016, i.e. up to August 31, 2016.
The government has recently appointed Maharashtra cadre IAS officer Bipin Bihari Mallick as his replacement.
The Ishrat Jahan case dates back to 2004 when 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in an “alleged” fake encounter in Gujarat. The Gujarat Police had back then claimed that those killed were LeT terrorist and had planned to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi.
The papers had disappeared from the Home Ministry and they included the copy of an affidavit by the then Attorney General and was submitted in the Gujarat high court in 2009 along with the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG to which changes were made by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram.