Ahmedabad, Oct. 8: BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava and his cousin, Congress councillor Chandrakant — the terrible twins of Vadodara — are proving that blood is thicker than their political ties.
An FIR was finally lodged against the duo on Monday for threatening the family of Zahira Sheikh, the key witness in the Best Bakery case, and after the Supreme Court nudge, the Vadodara police are all set to take the “legal procedure to its logical conclusion”.
They can arrest the Srivastavas for threatening to kill and making anonymous calls, but to initiate any action against Madhu, they will have to wait for his return from an unscheduled US visit. “If he prolongs his stay in USA, he cannot be extradited,” said Vadodara police chief Sudhir Sinha.
But the police are going ahead with the case. The Best Bakery accused were served bailable arrest warrants issued by the high court. The 21 accused acquitted by a fast track court will surrender tomorrow. The accused, however, can obtain bail against a surety of Rs 10,000.
Though the noose is slowly tightening on the Srivastavas, the BJP and the Congress are yet to take cognisance of the FIR lodged against the duo. Chandrakant, a powerful Congress councillor who was tipped to be the leader of the Opposition, said he and his cousin won’t mind dumping their parties if they decided to crack down on them.
Claiming they have identical views on their relation with the parties and their priorities in life, Chandrakant, alias Bhattu, said blood ties are more important than political affiliations. “We are members of two different political parties but we are very close.”
In fact, it is convenience and not ideology that drew them to the two parties. It makes business sense to have clout in both parties — ruling as well as Opposition. The two, who represent the new face of an emerging political class in Gujarat, came to value the clout as they graduated from bootlegging to land development before establishing themselves as hoteliers.
Chandrakant, who had won as an Independent from Hanuman Tekri, where the Best Bakery carnage took place, is a new entrant to the Congress.
He had won by a record margin and would have been elected leader of the Opposition in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, but for the Best Bakery carnage.
He admitted that his chances were scuttled after Zahira told the Supreme Court that she was threatened by Madhu and his men. Bhattu claimed that Zahira had played into the hands of his rivals in the Congress who were jealous of his rise in the party.
Denying that his cousin threatened Zahira’s brother Nafitullah — based on whose statement the police filed the FIR against the Srivastavas and three others — Chandrakant mouthed Madhu’s oft-repeated statement that he did not know Zahira’s family and had never met any of them though he is their civic representative.
He went to make contradictory statements like Zahira had given the names of 21 persons as she had some personal problem with them, but not all are innocent. His brother, a BJP legislator, is an innocent man though the attack on the bakery was the handiwork of the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal.
Claiming that Zahira’s statement almost sank his “promising political career”, Chandrakant said it was strange that the apex court took note of her “childish statement and wild allegations” to “tarnish their reputation”. If she was a genuine person, why did she lie in the court after taking an oath on the Holy Quran, Chandrakant asked.