"Doesn't Spare The Departed": Congress Slams PM On Charges On Ahmed Patel

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Gujarat police on Friday contended before the court that activist Teesta Setalvad was a part of a "larger conspiracy" by Congress veteran Ahmed Patel against Narendra Modi.

The SIT opposed Teesta Setalvad's bail application (File)

New Delhi:

The Congress on Saturday strongly refuted the Gujarat police's allegations against veteran party leader Ahmed Patel that he had hatched a conspiracy to destabilise the BJP government in the state, led by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, after the 2002 riots.

The rebuttal came after a Special Investigation Team, or SIT, of the Gujarat Police on Friday contended before the court that activist Teesta Setalvad was a part of a "larger conspiracy" that was carried out at the instance of Ahmed Patel to falsely implicate "innocent" people in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The SIT made the claim while opposing the bail application of Teesta Setalvad.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress in its statement said the allegations against Ahmed Patel were a "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 Prime Minister's political vendetta machine clearly does not even spare the departed who were his political adversaries," the statement said. 

"Giving judgment through press, in an ongoing judicial process, through puppet investigative agencies who trumpet wild allegations as supposed findings, has been the hallmark of the Modi-Shah duo's tactics 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 added.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel died in 2020 following Covid-19 complications.  

Ahmed Patel's daughter Mumtaz Patel also dismissed the probe team's claim.  "I guess his name @ahmedpatel still holds weight to be used for political conspiracies to malign d opposition.Why during UPA years @TeestaSetalvad was not rewarded & made Rajya sabha membr & why the center uptil 2020 did not prosecute my father for hatching such a big conspiracy," she tweeted.

Citing statements of a witness, the SIT in its affidavit said that Teesta Setalvad had received Rs 30 lakh after post-Godhra riots in 2002 at the behest of Ahmed Patel.

Teesta 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.

Ms Setalvad was arrested along with former IPS officers RB Sreekumar last month after the Supreme Court upheld the clearance issued to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gujarat riots case.

Sanjeev Bhatt, who is in a Gujarat jail since 2018 in a 27-year-old case, was arrested by the SIT through a transfer warrant.