M A I N   N E W S

Govt rejects Antulay’s conspiracy theory
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
After dithering on the A.R. Antulay issue for a week, the government today let him off, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying, “To err is human.” Ruling out further discussions on the issue, the PM said the matter be treated as closed.

Earlier, the government, without even once mentioning Antulay, rejected his conspiracy theory behind ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s killing, with home minister P Chidambaram saying that there is no truth in the different versions being circulated about Karkare’s movement on that fateful day.

Replying more to Antulay than NDA, which has been seeking the former’s resignation on moral grounds, the government said, “The investigators have concluded that there is no truth in the suspicion of conspiracy to eliminate Karkare or other two officers. He appears to have acted, after conferring with his colleagues, with speed and purpose.”

Chidambaram said: “Before his death, questions were raised about the genuineness of investigations being conducted by Karkare in a terrorist case. After his death, questions are being raised about the circumstances in which he was killed. Both are wrong and deeply regrettable.”

Minutes after the Home Minister had cleared the dust on Congress’ stand on the matter, Antulay dropped his week-long insistence for a probe into Karkare’s killing, saying he was satisfied with the government’s statement. For him, the deal came through cheap, with the government playing safe.

The government’s conduct in the house today mirrored its desperation to get over with the matter, with Chidambaram quickly tabling the statement amidst a walkout by the NDA. Nothing perturbed the government, not even L.K. Advani’s reservations.

“We had not asked for circumstances leading to the death of Karkare. The house was agitated over Antulay’s statement. The government’s statement means nothing,” Advani said, leading the walkout. Subsequently, the proceedings remained mired in anti-UPA and anti-Antulay slogans, with the Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee later saying that the Home Minister had clarified the situation and there was no need for further enquiry.

Chidambaram earlier said he had ascertained the facts of Karkare’s killing from Maharashtra and the investigators had concluded through the accounts of three eyewitnesses that Karkare took the most convenient route from his residence at Dadar East to the CST and, after conferring with officers there, proceeded to Cama hospital. It was at the rear gate of the hospital that he was joined by Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salasker, Chidambaram said. The eyewitnesses include captured Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir, police naik Arun Kadhav and driver Maruti Madhavrao.



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