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Cong murder finger at Modi

New Delhi, April 21: The Congress today said circumstantial evidence clearly suggested Narendra Modi was a “potential accused” in the murders of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and an eyewitness to the 2005 fake encounter, stepping up the offensive against the BJP mascot.

The party also sought to know why the CBI had not questioned the chief minister so far.

No prime ministerial aspirant has ever faced such an allegation, though the cases mentioned by the Congress — the deaths of small-time gangster Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and the eyewitness to their murder, Sohrabuddin associate Tulsiram Prajapati — have been in the public domain for several years.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal told a media conference the chief minister’s office was in constant touch with police officer S. Pandian, an accused in the murder cases, and Amit Shah, who has been treated as a co-conspirator by the CBI.

The Union minister also named one Parag Shah, officer on special duty at the chief minister’s office. “Why was the CM’s office interested? Parag Shah, OSD for anti-terrorist squad, was monitoring the ATS functions and obviously reporting to the chief minister. The CDR (call detail records) shows a number of phone calls between Pandian and Parag Shah along with Amit Shah and Pandian who planned and executed Prajapati’s murder,” Sibal told the media conference at the party headquarters while releasing the CDR.

Prajapati, the sole witness to the 2005 staged-encounter deaths of Sohrabuddin and his wife in Gujarat, was eliminated in another alleged fake encounter in 2006.

Asked why the CBI had not pursued the case, Sibal said: “The CBI has to answer. The courts need to take note. The CBI is an independent agency, it is not in the government’s pocket. We have direct link of Modi’s office to the encounters. Whoever is involved in elimination of people should be properly investigated. There can’t be more clearer circumstantial evidence to show the involvement of Amit Shah and the CM’s office.”

Sibal said the nation “needs to know” the truth. “Parag Shah should have been arrested and courts should ensure Modi gets the summons for interrogation. It is also shocking that Amit Shah, who is an accused in these cases, is chalking out the BJP’s campaign strategy in the key state of Uttar Pradesh.”

Parag, Sibal added, was the younger brother of an RSS leader and had also worked as PA to L.K. Advani in 1998 when the BJP veteran was home minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Sibal also quoted from the resignation letter of former ATS chief D.G. Vanzara, who is in jail, to buttress his point that the BJP’s 2014 mascot was aware of the whole plot.

In his letter, the IPS officer had said “field officers… simply implemented the conscious policy of this government which was inspiring, guiding (and) monitoring our actions from the very close quarters”.

Sibal ridiculed Modi for promising to remove all criminal elements from Parliament when he was himself surrounded by criminals.

The trial in the three encounter cases has not begun even seven years after Prajapati’s death in December 2006.