Ahmed Patel’s daughter Mumtaz Patel said that it was ‘unfortunate’ that her father’s name was being used to malign the opposition.


New Delhi: A 12-page affidavit filed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Gujarat police has claimed that the late Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who was the political secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi, in a larger conspiracy, colluded with activist Teesta Setalvad, former IPS officers Sanjiv Bhat and R.B. Sree Kumar to “destabilize or dismiss of the elected government in Gujarat by hook or crook for which Setalvad obtained illegal financial and other benefits and rewards from the rival political parties in lieu of her attempts to wrongfully implicate and prosecute various authorities and other innocent persons in the state of Gujarat including the then Chief Minister”.
The Gujarat police had filed the affidavit on Friday before the Civil and Sessions Court, Ahmedabad, to oppose the bail plea filed by Setalvad. She was arrested on 25 June, after a FIR was filed against her ex-DGP R.B. Sreekumar, Sanjiv Bhatt, alleging “criminal conspiracy, forgery and placing false evidence in court to frame innocent people” in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
The said FIR was registered after the Supreme Court on 24 June dismissed a petition challenging the SIT clean chit to then Gujarat CM in the 2002 riots case and stated that “all those involved in such abuse of process need to be proceeded with in accordance with law.”
The claims of the SIT, which is based on two unnamed witnesses, states that “Setalvad had started to act as a part of this conspiracy from the very beginning as just few days after the Godhra train incident the applicant (Setalvad) held meeting with late Ahmed Patel and had received Rs 5 lakh at the first instance where the money was given to her by one witness on the instruction of Ahmed Patel. Two days later, in a meeting conducted at the government circuit house Shahi Baugh between late Ahmed Patel and the applicant, the said witness had handed over Rs 25 lakh more to the applicant on the instruction of the late Ahmed Patel. This cash money given was not part of any relief related corpus as all relief material in the form of food and other essential commodities was provided across Gujarat by one Gujarat relief committee.”
Mumtaz Patel, the daughter of Ahmed Patel, said that it was “unfortunate” that her father’s name is being used “for political conspiracies” to malign the opposition.
“So their campaign for Gujarat election has begun by dragging @ahmedpatel’s name in conspiracy theories. They did it before election when he was alive & are still doing it when he is no more. I guess his name @ahmedpatel still holds weight to be used for political conspiracies to malign the opposition. Why during UPA years @TeestaSetalvad was not rewarded & made Rajya Sabha member & why the Centre uptill 2020 did not prosecute my father for hatching such a big conspiracy?,” she tweeted.
The Congress issued a one-page statement on the claims made by the SIT against Patel attacking the BJP. “The Indian National Congress party 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. It was his unwillingness and incapacity to control this carnage that had led the-then Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee to remind the chief minister of his rajdharma,” Jairam Ramesh, the AICC General Secretary in-charge of the party’s communications, said in a statement.
Ramesh further stated that “giving a judgment through the 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,” he added. The affidavit, which has been accessed by The Sunday Guardian, has provided in great detail how this alleged conspiracy was executed.
“It is pertinent to note here that applicant’s meetings with Mr R.B. Sreekumar, then ADGP, Armed unit and Mr Sanjeev Bhatt the then DCI Security of the State Intelligence Bureau had no connection as to any relief work as these officers by capacity of their position were not involved in any relief work.”
It further states that meetings in “clandestine” manner at the Delhi residence of Ahmed Patel were held between Setalvad, Bhatt and Patel approximately four months after the riots. “Ocular” evidence cited by the SIT in its affidavit claims that several meetings were conducted in Delhi with political leaders after the riots in which the accused had discussion with “leaders of prominent national party in power at that time to implicate the names of senior leaders of the BJP government in the state of Gujarat in the riot cases”.
The SIT has claimed that Setalvad was awarded the Padma Shri by the then government in 2007 for “her efforts in malicious vexatious prosecution and litigation for the efforts of her team to falsely project the theory of larger conspiracy in an effort to falsely implicate person(s) with no role in the crimes.”
The SIT, while referring to her “political ambition” has claimed that she, during her conversation with ‘unknown political leader’ she stated that why was she not being made a member of the Rajya Sabha when Shabana and Javed were being given a chance. (Actress Shabana Aazmi was nominated to the RS in 2007, while her husband Javed Akhtar was nominated in 2010).
The SIT claimed that Bhatt was in constant touch with Congress leaders of Gujarat and holding “personal meetings” and that he was receiving “packages” and that he was “tutored” by Setalvad through mock question and answer sessions on how to respond during his deposition to the Nanavati Commission.
According to the SIT, Vithalbhai Pandya, the father of the former home minister of Gujarat, Haren Pandya was taken to Mumbai so that he could meet Setalvad, Sreekumar and sign a written complaint prepared by Setalvad in which he was supposed to implicate the then Gujarat CM for Haren Pandya’s death. He refused to sign the letter after he found that “names of several innocent persons were mentioned as accused”.
The affidavit concludes by stating, “Setalvad has abused the process for demining the elected representatives, bureaucracy, police administration and several innocent citizens of the whole state of Gujarat resorting to criminal offences.” There was no comment shared by the representatives of Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt on the allegations made in the affidavit till the time the story went to press.