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Absconding BJP man finally lands in police net

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor Vallabh Patel,who was declared an ‘absconder’ by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the Naroda Gam massacre of 2002,was arrested by Naroda police on Sunday evening. He was later handed over to the SIT.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
April 13, 2009 1:29:50 am

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor Vallabh Patel,who was declared an ‘absconder’ by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the Naroda Gam massacre of 2002,was arrested by Naroda police on Sunday evening. He was later handed over to the SIT.

Patel was appointed as election in-charge for Naroda area in Ahmedabad (East) constituency by his party and was seen openly conducting door-to-door campaign for his party. He had himself confirmed this to Newsline over telephone. Ashish Bhatia,IGP (Crime) and SIT officer in the case,confirmed Patel’s arrest from Shiv Bungalows on Sunday night.

Patel faces charges of murder,attempt to murder,arson and rioting in the Naroda Gam riot case. He is among the 31 accused whose names had emerged during the Supreme Court-appointed SIT’s investigation in connection with the Naroda Gam massacre of February 28,2002.

Earlier,the BJP spokesperson had confirmed Patel’s appointment as the election in-charge while he was absconding. But state BJP president Parshottam Rupala had denied any knowledge about the matter.

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When all the other 30 accused in the case,including former state minister Dr Maya Kodnani and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaydeep Patel were arrested by the SIT,Patel (45) remained at large even after his 90-day anticipatory bail granted by a Sessions Court had expired on March 23 this year. Patel’s counsel had moved the same court again seeking an extension of the bail period,but Sessions Judge A P Bhojak had turned down the plea. Patel’s lawyers finally withdrew the plea on March 31. The SIT investigating officer in Naroda Gam case,Superintendent of Police P L Mal,had said,“Patel is technically an absconder now and we are on the look out for him.”

The SIT had alerted all the police stations about Patel. The issue was highlighted by a Newsline story dated April 6,wherein the SIT continued to maintain that Patel was absconding even though he actively campaigned for the LS polls in the Naroda area. He had told Newsline that his case was pending before the Gujarat High Court. He had also detailed his election duties candidly.

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