Thirteen years after former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya was shot dead in Ahmedabad, the BJP government appointed his wife Jagruti Pandya as chairperson of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR). The case, probed by CBI, has remained a millstone around BJP’s neck with questions being raised after Gujarat High Court acquitted all 12 accused of murder charge.
Pandya was no longer a minister when he was found shot dead on March 6, 2003, in his car outside Ahmedabad’s Law Garden. Jagruti had raised questions over the initial probe into the murder, then handled by the Ahmedabad crime branch under its DCP, the now retired DG Vanzara. It was later handed over to CBI.
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Jagruti’s appointment also hinted at her return to BJP after she unsuccessfully contested the 2012 state polls from Ellisbridge, her husband’s constituency, as candidate of Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). After her loss, Jagruti had quit active politics, while GPP merged with BJP in 2014.
“For the past 13 years, whatever stand I took was appropriate given developments in the judiciary. I was never against the principles of BJP,” Jagruti said. Asked if BJP’s move was belated, she said “All I know is that the party never forgot Haren Pandya.”
After the high court acquitted the 12 accused, the state government appealed in Supreme Court. On the progress of the case, she said, “The case is in Supreme Court and the judiciary will do its job.” She said she was yet to receive an appointment letter, but would “contribute all she could for the development of children”.