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Amit Shah makes dramatic appearance before media

Sunday, July 25, 2010 02:25:45 PM, Agencies

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Ahmedabad: After remaining untraceable for CBI since Thursday, former Gujarat minister Amit Shah on Sunday made a dramatic appearance before the press at the BJP state headquarters here and said he will present himself before the agency for questioning in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Facing charges of murder and kidnapping, Shah, a close associate of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, said the charges against him were "fabricated and politically motivated".

46-year-old Shah, who resigned from the state government yesterday, said that he could not respond to the summons by the CBI due to paucity of time.

Shah, who said he will be driving to the CBI office here after the press conference, maintained that "all the charges against me are fabricated and they have been brought about at the behest of the Congress government at the Centre.

"I have full faith in the judiciary and I am sure the allegations against me will be cleared by the courts," he said demanding that his entire questioning by the CBI should be video-graphed.

Shah said that his lawyers will explore all legal options in case he is arrested by the CBI after his questioning.

Referring to Sohrabuddin, he alleged that 40 AK-47 rifles, about a hundred grenades and Rs one lakh worth of ammunition were recovered from his house. "Can anyone say that he was innocent?" he asked.

Shah did not appear before the CBI on Thursday and had gone underground.

The CBI had on Friday filed a chargesheet in the special court here charging him with murder, kidnapping, extortion and destruction of evidence in the fake encounter killing case of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi in 2005.

"The incident happened five years back. But the CBI acted in such haste that they did not even give me enough time to reply. I will respond to all the charges and will expose the people who are behind bringing of these allegations," Shah said.

He also said that the entire exercise was an effort to destabilise the BJP government in the state. "There is no need to drag Chief Minister Narendra Modi into this issue," he said reply to a reporter's query.

He also said that he has addressed a letter to the people of Gujarat to clarify his position.

Modi, who was in New Delhi yesterday to attend a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, had said that Shah was "completely innocent" and that the charges against him were "politically motivated".

Teams of CBI had been searching for Shah and other accused at various locations after the filing of the chargesheet against them. Shah's anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Special CBI Court on Friday.

The chargesheet has named Shah as a key accused along with IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, M N Dinesh and Abhay Chudasama. In all, 15 accused have been named.

According to the chargesheet, it was Shah who had entrusted the task of eliminating Sheikh, an alleged gangster, to Vanzara, Pandia and Chudasama. Sheikh was killed in an encounter near here on November 26, 2005.

The CBI is conducting a fresh probe into the encounter on the directions of the Supreme Court.

Earlier, state BJP president R C Faldu alleged that Shah, who was "totally innocent", had been "falsely implicated" in the case for which CBI has been "misused".

"We know that Congress governments have had the habit of disturbing non-Congress governments in states. We feel that the Congress is afraid of the support JD(U), BJP and its allies have in poll-bound Bihar," he said.

"I have full faith in the judiciary, people of Gujarat and BJP workers. I will fight the battle in the court of law and the party will fight the political battle at political level," Shah said.

In a reply to a question on where was he in the last couple of days, Shah on a lighter note said, "I was at the residence of one of the friends like you journalists.

"As far as the question of issuing summons is concerned, it seems summons were served as if I am an absconder and known criminal. I was not given time as on July 22, first summons was issued at 11 am asking me to appear before them (CBI) at 1 pm," Shah said.

"On the same day another summons was issued asking me to come before 1 pm of July 22 giving me no time to have legal consultations about the five-year-old case," Shah said.




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