Congress denies Gujarat SIT’s charges against Ahmed Patel

16 July, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

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Congress disputed the "mischievous claims" against the late Ahmed Patel on Saturday saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "political vendetta machine" does not even "spare the departed"

Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “political vendetta machine” does not even “spare the departed” who were his “political opponents,” Congress disputed the “mischievous claims” against the late Ahmed Patel on Saturday.

According to an affidavit submitted to the sessions court by the Gujarat Police’s Special Investigating Team, Teesta Setalvad was a part of a bigger plot to topple the BJP-led Gujarat government during the 2002 Gujarat riots that were devised at the request of the late Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

In a statement released by General Secretary In-Charge, Communications, AICC, Jairam Ramesh, he said, “Indian National Congress categorically refutes the mischievous charges manufactured against the late Shri Ahmed Patel, which is part of the Prime Minister’s systematic strategy to absolve himself of any responsibility for the communal carnage unleashed when he was chief minister of Gujarat in 2002.”

The statement read, “This SIT is dancing to the tune of its political master and will sit wherever it is told 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. Prime Minister’s political vendetta machine clearly does not even spare the deceased who were his political adversaries.

Social activist Setalvad, former state DGP RB Sreekumar, and former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, according to an SIT affidavit, accepted Rs 30 lakh from Ahmed Patel, the political adviser of the then-Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to allegedly frame then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and topple his administration in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

An SIT was established to look into allegations of criminal conspiracy and forgery against Setalvad and R B Sreekumar.

Earlier on July 15, Teesta Sreekumar’s bail request was opposed by an affidavit filed by SIT’s ACP BC Solanki’s Special Public Prosecutors Mitesh Amin and Amit Patel. The affidavit claimed that the accused had joined a larger conspiracy with the aim of obtaining illegal money and other benefits from Congress.

In the wake of the rioting that followed the Godhra tragedy, the SIT brought severe charges against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt for allegedly defaming Gujarat and the then-chief minister Narendra Modi in applications to the Supreme Court and other bodies.

According to SIT affidavit, the accused met with Patel multiple times and were given Rs 5 lakh the first time and Rs 25 lakh after two days. In 2020, Ahmed Patel died away.

Supreme Court dismissed Zakia Jafri’s appeal last month, which questioned the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) exoneration of then-Chief Minister Narendra Modi and numerous others in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.

Aboard February 27, 2002, at Gujarat’s Godhra Railway Station, 58 pilgrims were burned alive on the Sabarmati Express train, sparking rioting that left more than 1,000 people dead.