NDA Grossly Misused CBI in Pandya's Murder Case: Wife

NDA Grossly Misused CBI in Pandya's Murder Case: Wife

Slain BJP leader Haren Pandya's wife Jagruti Pandya today said that she recently met Asgar Ali, the man acquitted by court of killing her husband, at an Andhra jail.

"On Tuesday, I visited Visakhapatnam jail in Andhra Pradesh and met Ali, who was initially accused by CBI of my husband's murder but later acquitted by Gujarat High Court," Jagruti told reporters here.

Pandya, a former minister of state for home in the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat who had later fallen out with the chief minister, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden area of the city during his morning walk.

"I wanted to meet him ever since he had been here at Sabarmati jail to find out the truth behind his role (in Pandya's murder)," she said.

"My meeting with Ali lasted for two-and-a-half hours in which he narrated how, on the instance of CBI, he was framed in the case and how he was tortured to make a false confession," Jagruti said.

She also alleged that Ali had no knowledge of her husband's murder until his arrest by CBI on April 20, 2003.

After being acquitted by Gujarat High Court in the Pandya murder case, Ali was, however, arrested by Andhra Pradesh police in connection with another murder.

He is at present lodged in Visakhapatnam jail.

"He told me that he had never visited Gujarat before April 2003, when a team of Gujarat police... Brought him to the city (before his) arrest by CBI," she said.

Within two days of Pandya's murder, CBI had, at the state government's request, taken over the probe into the case.

Jagruti further charged that despite her husband's having been a BJP functionary, no party leader had come forward to help her after his murder.

"No leader from BJP, including the the Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani (during NDA regime), helped us. I have been fighting a lone battle for justice," she said.

"Ali revealed so many new things which even I was not aware of. Talks with him reinforced my belief that CBI was grossly misused by NDA government and that belief was also proved right by the high court judgement," she alleged.

She also alleged that the same Intelligence Bureau officer, Rajendra Kumar, who was examined recently by CBI in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, was responsible for providing inputs before Pandya's murder.

"Kumar was the IB officer who generated inputs that some terrorists were coming to Gujarat for an attack (and that formed the) basis for CBI to arrest Ali and the other accused," she claimed.

Jagruti refused to divulge details of how she found out where Ali was and who facilitated her meeting.

Asked if she will demand a fresh probe into her husband's murder, Jagruti said: "At present, CBI's appeal against the HC judgement is pending before Supreme Court. But I will demand it (a fresh probe) at a proper time."

Based on an eyewitness account and confessions of some of the accused, CBI had claimed to have unravelled a conspiracy theory to avenge the 2002 Gujarat riots behind Pandya's murder.

A special PoTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activities) court had in 2007 convicted all 12 accused in the case, including Ali, who was awarded life imprisonment.

However, on August 29, 2011, a division bench of Gujarat High Court had slammed CBI for the probe which it said was "washed up" and "blinkered", and acquitted all the accused including Ali from the charge of murdering Pandya.

CBI has filed an appeal against the acquittal in Supreme Court.

Pandya's wife Jagruti had last year joined Gujarat Parivartan Party, floated by former CM Keshubhai Patel.

In the Assembly elections in December, she unsuccessfully contested from the Ellis Bridge seat of the city on a ticket from that party.

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