The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Father rubbishes arrest

Ahmedabad, April 18: A day after the CBI arrested the “killers” of Haren Pandya, the slain BJP leader’s father today dismissed the agency’s claim as “humbug”.

The former Gujarat home minister was killed on March 26 while he was returning from his morning walk.

The CBI claimed a major breakthrough in the high-profile murder case with the arrest of the “main killer”, along with his three accomplices, from Hyderabad yesterday.

But Haren’s father, Vithalbhai Pandya, said he was sceptical about the CBI claim, which, he said, has not established the motive for carrying out the assassination.

At a condolence meeting, Vithalbhai had told deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani that his son’s murder was “politically motivated”.

“I stick to my statement even today. The CBI claim is a humbug,” Vithalbhai said today, reacting to CBI claims that the main killer had visited Pakistan and had links with militants in Kashmir.

Terming the CBI claim as “a drama”, Vithalbhai said he was anticipating that the CBI would declare that the assailants had links with the ISI.

Expressing reservations about the “breakthrough”, the slain leader’s father said: “I’m not interested in the murderer — who probably is an uneducated person who did not know who Haren Pandya was. I’m interested in the person who got him murdered, intentionally and politically.”

“Politically, they had killed my son seven months ago… and now they got him physically eliminated,” Vithalbhai said.

Without naming the deputy Prime Minister — who had said that the conspiracy had been hatched by the Dawood gang even when the CBI was investigating — he said such statements were not only premature but also amounted to influencing the line of investigation.

What has led the angry father to doubt is the fact that four days after his son was murdered, Vithalbhai received a letter from a person who was once a fast friend of Haren. “This person”, I was told, “had been collecting money in the name of Haren Pandya when he was the home minister. When my son learnt about it, he asked him to get out of his office”. That person, now close to a top politician in the state, had threatened to finish Haren’s political career, he said.

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