Monday, August 15, 2022

Charges against Ahmed to absolve Modi : Cong

The Congress on Saturday alleged that the charges levelled by the Gujarat government against late party leader Ahmed Patel were part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “systematic strategy to absolve himself of any responsibility for the communal carnage” of 2002.
It also said that it was his “unwillingness and incapacity” as the then Gujarat chief minister “to control the carnage” that had led the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to remind him of his “rajdharma”.
The grand old party made the allegation a day after the Gujarat police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) submitted an affidavit in a court here stating that arrested activist Teesta Setalvad was part of a “larger conspiracy” carried out at the behest of Ahmed Patel with the political objective of “dismissal or destabilisation of the elected government in Gujarat by hook or by crook”.
“The charges against Ahmed Patel are part of Prime Minister’s systematic strategy to absolve himself of any responsibility for the communal carnage unleashed when he was the chief minister of Gujarat in 2002,” the statement issued by Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in-charge of the party’s communication, media and publicity department, said.
“It was his unwillingness and incapacity as the then chief minister to control the carnage that had led the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to remind the chief minister of his ‘rajdharma’,” it said.
It added that PM Modi’s “political vendetta machine” doesn’t even spare the departed who were his political adversaries.
“The Indian National Congress categorically refutes the mischievous charges manufactured against late Shri Ahmed Patel,” the statement said.
The opposition party accused the SIT of dancing to the tune of its political master and said the agency would sit wherever it is asked to. “We know how an earlier SIT chief was rewarded with a diplomatic assignment after he had given a ‘clean chit’ to the chief minister,” the party said.
It said that giving judgement through the press in an ongoing judicial process through “puppet investigative agencies who trumpet wild allegations as supposed findings has been a hallmark of the “Modi-Shah duo’s tactic for years”.
“This is nothing but another example of the same, with the added object of vilifying a deceased person since he is obviously unable and unavailable to refute such brazen lies,” it said.
Setalvad, along with former Director General of Police (DGP) R B Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, was arrested by the city crime branch for allegedly fabricating evidence to implicate innocent persons in the 2002 riots cases, under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 468 (forgery) and 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offence), among other offences.
Citing the statements of a witness, the SIT, while opposing Setalvad’s bail plea, told the court on Friday that the conspiracy was carried out at the behest of late Ahmed Patel.
At Patel’s behest, Setalvad received Rs 30 lakh after post-Godhra riots in 2002 after meeting him on two occasions soon after the Godhra riots incident. Meetings were also held at Patel’s residence in New Delhi, where Setalvad and Bhatt met the Congress leader “four months after the riots in a clandestine manner”, it said.
Setalvad used to meet the leaders of a “prominent national party in power at that time in Delhi to implicate names of senior leaders of the BJP government in riot cases”, the SIT further claimed.
In several meetings held with political leaders after the riots, it was discussed by the accused person “with leaders of a prominent national party in power at the time to implicate senior leaders of the BJP government of Gujarat in these riots cases.”
The record shows that “top Congress leaders of Gujarat’’ were in constant touch with Bhatt during the period in consideration. Bhatt was “holding personal meetings with senior Congress leaders as well,” it said.
It cited another witness to claim that in 2006 Setalvad had asked a Congress leader why the party was giving “chance to only Shabana and Javed” and not making her a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Last month, the Supreme Court had dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots.
The plea alleged a “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. But the court upheld the SIT’s clean chit to Modi and 63 others.
On February 27, 2002, coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at the Godhra station, leading to the deaths of 59 persons. The coach was carrying kar sevaks who were returning from Ayodhya. The incident triggered widespread communal riots in Gujarat, leaving 1,044 persons dead, according to official figures.


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