Congress alleges that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “political vendetta machine” does not even “spare the departed” who were his “political adversaries”. An affidavit filed by Gujarat Police’s Special Investigating Team before the sessions court claimed that Teesta Setalvad was part of a larger conspiracy, hatched at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel, to destabilise the BJP-led Gujarat government after the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“The Indian National Congress categorically refutes the mischievous charges manufactured against the late Shri Ahmed Patel. This 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,” said a statement issued by General Secretary In-Charge, Communications, AICC, Jairam Ramesh.
“The Prime Minister’s political vendetta machine clearly does not even spare the departed who were his political adversaries. 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,” the statement stated.
The SIT affidavit alleged that social activist Setalvad, former state Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt had accepted Rs 30 lakh from Ahmed Patel, the political advisor of the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi to allegedly frame then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and destabilise his government following 2002 Gujarat riots.
The SIT was formed to probe Setalvad along with R B Sreekumar for criminal conspiracy and forgery. SIT’s ACP BC Solanki’s Special public prosecutors Mitesh Amin and Amit Patel filed an affidavit in the sessions court on July 15 against the bail plea filed by Teesta, Sreekumar stating that the accused had entered into a larger conspiracy with the intention of obtaining illegal money and other benefits from Congress.
After the riots that broke out after the Godhra incident, the SIT filed serious charges against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt in the case of defaming several people including the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat in the case of petitions to various commissions and the Supreme Court.
The SIT affidavit stated that the accused had numerous meetings with Patel where they received Rs 5 lakh for the first time and Rs 25 lakh after two days. Ahmed Patel passed away in 2020.
Last month, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and several others in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
After 58 pilgrims were burnt alive on the Sabarmati Express train at Gujarat’s Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002, riots broke out across the state in which more than 1,000 people were killed.