Government should reveal Ishrat's terrorist links: Rajnath Singh

Guwahati, July 4 (IANS) Targeting the government over the CBI charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan staged shootout case, BJP president Rajnath Singh Thursday said the government should disclose "her terror links".

The CBI Wednesday filed a charge sheet in which it claimed that Ishrat Jahan had no terrorist links. Seven police officers were charge-sheeted for the staged shootout of 2004.

The Bharatiya Janata Party president claimed that the case was being hyped for political purposes. He also took the government to task over its handling of the economy.

Talking to reporters here, Rajnath Singh said the government should disclose which terrorist outfit Ishrat Jahan was associated with. "What was her track record? With which terror outfit was she linked? There should be a disclosure from the government on this," he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP )president said over 3,000 staged shootouts had taken place before 2002, but hype was being created only around the Ishrat Jahan case. "Hype is being created on the issue for political purposes," he said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case said that she and other three persons were killed in cold blood, in an operation jointly conducted by Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.

Talking on other political developments, Rajnath Singh told reporters that the government must first discuss the food security bill in parliament, not bring in an ordinance. The union cabinet Wednesday gave its nod to an ordinance for the introduction of the food security bill.

The government could not get the bill passed in over four years of the UPA-II being in power, Rajnath Singh said, adding: "Why is it in a hurry now?"

"We want to pass the bill with some amendments," he said, adding that his party was not opposed to the legislation.

The BJP leader said India was heading towards the situation it faced in 1991, when it had to mortgage gold to the IMF for seeking a loan. He criticised the UPA government's handling of the economy.

He said GDP growth rate was down to about five percent, and the rupee had weakened considerably against the dollar.

"The country is facing conditions it faced in 1991," Rajnath Singh said.

He said foreign investors were not willing to put their money in India and Indian investors were looking for opportunities abroad.

The BJP chief said the depreciation of the rupee should have led to an increase in exports, but that has not happened.

"Imports are increasing, and so is the pressure on the economy," he said.

The BJP president arrived here Wednesday and met top leaders of Assam BJP to discuss the strategy and agenda for the next Lok Sabha elections. Rajnath Singh, who is currently touring various states ahead of kick-starting the party's campaigning for next year's Lok Sabha elections, also addressed grassroots members from different parts of the state at a meeting here.

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