Stepping up the offensive against Narendra Modi, the Congress today said he was a "potential accused" in the Tulsiram Prajapati murder case and should be interrogated by the CBI, hours after the the BJP's prime ministerial candidate promised to cleanse the political system and parliament of criminal elements.
Senior party leader and Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal also demanded the arrest and interrogation of Parag Shah, who worked in the Gujarat CM's office previously, claiming he had detailed talks with the police officer concerned who allegedly executed the murder of Prajapati.
"This evidence has come for the first time, which shows that the Chief Minister's Office was directly involved in what was happening" with regard to the encounters, Sibal said, submitting call detail records of conversations between Parag and Rajkumar Pandian, who "planned and executed the murder of Prajapati".
He said Parag, who was appointed Officer on Special Duty (IT) in the Chief Minister's Office, was also "associated with cyber cell of the Anti Terrorist Squad. "Parag was also PA to senior BJP leader L K Advani from June to December 1998, when he was the Union Home Minister," Sibal stated in the press note which, he said, also carries details of the CBI charge sheet in the fake encounter cases.
"There can hardly be any doubt that the Chief Minister must have been aware of the Prajapati encounter carried out by the police officers working in the ATS led by DIG DG Vanzara," he said.
Sibal said it was clear from "circumstantial evidence" that Modi's office was fully in the know as to what was happening in the "conspiracy to eliminate" Prajapati in the fake encounter that took place on December 26, 2006.
"Modi is a potential accused. The circumstantial evidence is clear. We are wondering why the CBI has not arrested Parag Shah and why Modi has not been interrogated. The nation needs to know. The CBI needs to answer. Courts in India should ensure that a proper investigation takes place with the interrogation and arrest of Parag Shah and the summoning of Modi for interrogation," he said.
Sibal also quoted remarks of Vanzara in his resignation letter to buttress the point that the chief minister was aware of the whole incident.
"We being field officers have simply implemented the conscious policy of this government which was inspiring, guiding and monitoring our actions from very close quarters," he quoted Vanzara as saying.
Sibal said Prajapati was "required to be eliminated" because he was the only witness in the abduction of Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi. "His testimony as a witness would have directly implicated all the accused," he said.
"Hence it was plan of Amit Shah and others that somehow Prajapati should be eliminated", he remarked.
Sibal said Parag was the brother of Hiten Shah, who was close to Modi since they were volunteers in the RSS and he looked after publicity.
Releasing the call record details between Parag and Pandian from a website "Truth of Gujarat", Sibal said what was not revealed is the number of phone calls between them along with the phone calls between Amit Shah and Pandian.
"Sohrabuddin was killed in an encounter with the police party on November 26, 2005 at Ahmedabad. Kausar Bi, his wife was murdered on November 29/30, 2005 and her body was disposed of. Prajapati was murdered in cold blood in a police encounter on December 28, 2006. In all these cold blooded murders, Amit Shah is a co-conspriator...," the Law Minister said.
He said that during the "core period of criminal conspiracy" between November 2005 and December 2006, the total number of calls exchanged between Amit Shah, D G Vanzara, S Pandian Rajkumar and Dinesh M N has been reflected in the CBI charge sheet in the fake encounter case.
He said he was not raising any suspicion on the CBI but wondered why the agency did not interrogate Modi when these recordings were with them. "I am not saying anything. I just wanted to know why?" he said.