The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vaghela ‘black’ paper

Ahmedabad, April 2: Gujarat state Congress chief Shankersinh Vaghela today claimed that former home minister Haren Pandya was assassinated because he had some “explosive information” about the Narendra Modi government that could rock the political establishment.

Releasing a “black paper” on the BJP’s 100 days in power, Vaghela said about three weeks before his murder on March 26, Pandya had told him “that the information he had could ‘shake the government’”.

He was killed before he could go public about it, which he could do at an “appropriate time”, the state Congress chief told reporters. “If the CBI team probing the high-profile murder comes to me, I will divulge everything the slain leader told me three weeks ago,” Vaghela said.

Vaghela’s allegations came on a day home minister Amit Shah claimed that the investigation was “narrowing down”. The lead investigating agencies are working on point to the involvement of the underworld, sources said.

Shah also said the government had information about the arrival of two sharp-shooters in the state a few days before Pandya’s killing but did not say what precautionary steps the government had taken. The motive behind the murder, according to Shah, was to avenge the killings of Muslims during last year’s communal violence.

Asked about the possibility of the killers having fled the country, the home minister said: “They are very much in the country and likely to be arrested.”

The 11-member CBI team, including six officers, is co-ordinating with the local crime branch to arrest the killers. The team will camp in the state till the murder is solved.

Pandya’s murder has spread panic among several VIPs. Among the 11 leaders who have sought security cover are six MLAs from the ruling BJP.

Sources said that all elected members who perceive a threat to their lives have been asked to inform their respective district superintendents of police.

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