February 3, 2009 2:11:56 am
The minister was termed absconder by special team probing 2002 riots
State Congress leaders on Monday reiterated their demand that Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare Dr Maya Kodnani must step down after being declared absconder by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Elsewhere,no one from the state government was prepared to give an official reaction to the development,at the Sachivalaya in Gandhinagar today.
Even staff members at Kodnanis office in the Sachivalaya were tight-lipped,and did not know her whereabouts. We have no clues as to where our Minister is. She may have gone out to attend some official function, said a staff member attached to Kodnanis office.
While Minister of State for Home Amit Shah could not be contacted,as be was busy in a meeting,according to his personal assistant,government spokesman and Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas declined to comment on the issue.
State Congress president Siddharth Patel said that a person holding ministerial responsibility must resign to appear before an investigating agency and should resume it only after being cleared of the charges by the court.
Since Kodnani has not resigned,and has moved the court seeking anticipatory bail,the state government should initiate action against her and dismiss her from the ministry, said Patel.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Arjun Modhwadia told media persons that Kodnani should have resigned immediately after the SIT sent her summons and asked her to appear before it to facilitate interrogation in the Naroda Gam and the Naroda Patia mass-massacre cases.
Meanwhile,a senior official in the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) told Newsline on condition of anonymity that the law will take its own course,and since the SIT has been appointed by the apex court,it is duty-bound to conduct a through probe into some major violent incidents that occurred during the 2002 riots.
The official wondered how the SIT could declare the minister as absconder without making any attempt to arrest her earlier.
Kodnani is an elected representative and the minister has been regularly making public appearances at official and other functions in different parts of the state. The SIT could have arrested the minister any day, he said.
Elsewhere,Jan Sangharsh Manch chairman Mukul Sinha,who is leading the legal fight for the riot-affected people,said the SIT was going slow in arresting her. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the kind of investigation the SIT has been doing in the riots cases.
The manner in which the SIT investigated the matter,gave Kodnani and Jaydeep Patel enough indication to move anticipatory bails. There are enough evidences against the two leaders and they ought to have been arrested much earlier, he said.
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