There is some respite for Congress Jasdan MLA Kunwarji Bavalia ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Governor Naval Kishore Sharma has put the CID (Crime) off the investigation in two cases involving him,following a request by Bavalia. Now Rajkot Range DIG Manoj Shashidhar has been entrusted with the job.
The two cases involved a land scam and a murder.
The change in the investigating agency has come at a crucial stage as Bavalias anticipatory bail plea is pending in the Gujarat High Court.
The development has also sent a wave of cheer in the Gujarat Congress camp,which has relied heavily on Bavalia to garner the Koli votes in the Saurashtra region traditionally a BJP bastion.
The CID (Crime) had arrested Bavalia on December 1,2008 in connection with acquiring land for the Sarvajanik Educational Trust,on fake documents. Bavalia had then levelled allegation of biased investigation against the Investigating Officer,CID (Crime) Inspector Sukhdevsinh Zala.
But Zala has always commanded respect from his seniors as well as the citizens for his significant contribution in weeding out some of the notorious gangs operating in Saurashtra. These included the Santokben Jadeja gang in Porbandar,the Shakti gang in Gondal and the Bharwad gang in Bhavnagar.
On the basis of the evidence produced by the CID,including forged documents,the Rajkot Sessions Court sent Bavalia to judicial custody for nearly a month. Bavalia,was,however,released on bail on December 30 along with a ban on his entry in Rajkot district,where his constituency Jasdan is located.
Bavalia is,however,yet to get an anticipatory bail in connection with the Rahim Lohiya murder case. The anticipatory bail in the case has been pending with the Gujarat High Court.
Bavalia told Newsline: Its a great relief. My arrest was done with vested interest and Zala was biased in his investigation. I am happy that the governor accepted my request to transfer the investigation.
Bavalias clout over the Kolis can be gauged from the fact that even state Fisheries Minister Purshottam Solanki,a Koli himself,had to go against his party line and come out in support of Bavalia.
The Kolis have a significant population in Rajkot,Surendranagar,Bhavnagar,Amreli and Porbandar districts.