Bang in the middle of election season, this will be a welcome headline for Amit Shah, chief aide of Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated in court that it has no evidence against Mr Shah in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. Ishrat, a 19-year-old Mumbai student, was killed along with three men in the outskirts of Ahmedabad by Gujarat policemen who claimed they had been told by the Intelligence Bureau that the four were terrorists who planned to assassinate Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat.
The CBI, which has questioned Mr. Shah twice while investigating the case, was responding to a petition in a Gujarat court filed by the father of Pranesh Pillai, one of the men killed with Ishrat. Mr. Pillai has sought that Amit Shah be named as an accused in the case.
He appealed after the CBI filed two chargesheets in the case, none of which names Mr. Shah, who was the Gujarat Home Minister at the time. The agency told the court today that it had laid all its evidence in the case before it.
Mr. Shah has been very visible in these national elections, as much for his controversial speeches, which earned him a warning and a temporary ban by the Election Commission, as for his much-vaunted political strategy in Uttar Pradesh, expected to win the BJP a big haul of seats in the crucial state, which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
The BJP’s Muqtar Abbas Naqvi said, “The CBI clean chit in court to Amit Shah will be seen as Satyamev Jayate (Truth prevails). The Congress scripted a political conspiracy.”
The Congress’, Shashi Tharoor sought to play down the development, “This is the CBI’s professional judgement. It is not an exoneration by any court,” he said.