The Telegraph
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BJP fires treason salvo

Mumbai, Aug. 8: The BJP, hounded for alleged “miscarriage of justice” in Vadodara’s Best Bakery case, today accused the Maharashtra government of treason and maintained that its “shoddy investigations” were responsible for the acquittal of seven persons charged with a conspiracy to kill deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

The BJP’s charge comes two days after Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi urged President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to ask state governments to furnish records of all communal riots that have taken place in their states till now.

On August 4, sessions court judge M.V. Marathe had let off seven persons, accused of being active members of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, who were charged with plotting to kill Advani in 2001. They were also charged with planning to blow up key civilian and defence installations in Maharashtra.

Seven others, including Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel, are wanted in the case and have been declared absconding. They will be tried separately when they are arrested.

The court had found the police charges “concocted and full of discrepancies”. Marathe said neither the four-day delay in filing the FIR nor the absence of the conspiracy charge in the initial police report were accounted for by the police.

BJP national general secretary Pramod Mahajan termed the order “shocking” and held the state government responsible for “criminal negligence while investigating, amounting to treason.” He pulled up the police for the “lackadaisical” manner in which it carried out inquiries.

Mahajan called for an investigation by the CBI. He criticised the city police for treating the case so carelessly.

The BJP leader pointed to a conspiracy to derail the investigations “hatched by some highly-placed persons”. Mahajan said it was very surprising that chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal and city police chief R.S. Sharma had “not even reacted” to such an order.

“The Centre, too, is surprised with the acquittal of the gangsters, all of whom are known to be history-sheeters,” Mahajan said. He added that there was a very suspicious delay in filing the FIR itself.

The state police had discarded vital information provided by intelligence units, alleged the BJP leader. “It is clear that the police have not taken the case to its logical conclusion,” he said.

Mahajan’s allegations sent the police top brass into a huddle, forcing Sharma to justify the force’s role at a press meet.

“We haven’t got a copy of the court order yet and need to go through it in detail before commenting on it,” he said. If the police feel the need, they will approach the high court against the session court’s order, said the police chief.

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