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Pandya’s father sees no hope for justice

Ahmedabad, March 28: The CBI today took over the investigation into Haren Pandya’s killing, and, almost simultaneously, the Gujarat government announced a Rs 1-lakh reward to any person who could give information about the killers.

As the CBI team visited the spot where Pandya was gunned down on Wednesday, the slain BJP leader’s father, Vithalbhai Pandya, said the “real culprits” would never be caught. “You can note it down: the culprit will never be brought to book and the truth will never be known,” said a distraught Vithalbhai.

He is bitter about chief minister Narendra Modi, apparently over the way his son was denied an Assembly poll ticket over differences with Modi.

Vithalbhai is equally disillusioned with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy, L.K. Advani. “I don’t trust Advani. He is a politician. And I know how the BJP treated my son,” he said.

Yesterday, Advani visited Pandya’s home in Paldi to console the bereaved family. He assured Jagrutiben, the slain leader’s widow, that he would ensure the culprits were brought to book as early as possible. “But that will never happen,’’ an angry Vithalbhai said.

Not only the father, even several family friends, including a former magistrate, present at the Pandya home shared his cynicism about the investigation and its outcome.

Jagrutiben, however, is determined to fight for justice. “I will see to it the culprits are punished. I will not let the culprits go unpunished. No innocent person should meet the fate of Haren Pandya,” she said, tears rolling down her face.

For the moment, however, Jagrutiben has no intention to plunge into politics. “No, I will never (join politics). But I will fight,” she said.

Vithalbhai is so angry with the chief minister that he does not even want to talk about Modi, who, he alleged, “spoiled his son’s political career’’.

“The people will judge him, whether he is a good chief minister or not. The chief minister’s security costs the state exchequer Rs 5 crore, which is actually public money. If he is a popular leader, elected by the people for the people, why does he need black cat commandos'” he asked.

Governor S.S. Bhandari and former chief ministers Chabildas Mehta, Suresh Mehta and Keshubhai Patel visited Pandya’s home today to attend a condolence meeting.

In the Assembly, home minister Amit Shah announced the Rs 1-lakh reward for anyone who could provide any vital clue about the assailant who, police say, appears to be professional killer.

According to Shah, police have gathered the information during investigations that the assailant is a 5-feet tall youth between 25 and 30 years. “The assailant was wearing a coffee-coloured shirt and ash-coloured pant,” Shah told the Assembly.

Meanwhile, home secretary K. Nityanandam denied the report suggesting that Mumbai police nabbed two suspects for their hand in Pandya’s killing. “The police have no clue as yet. No arrest has been made,’’ Nityanandam said.

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