The Gujarat High Court Tuesday summoned Mehsana police, along with their investigation papers and police station diary, in connection with the FIR filed against Sardar Patel Group (SPG) convener Lalji Patel. Justice B N Karia kept the matter for further hearing on May 31. The court also removed the name of Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel and Home Minister Rajni Patel from the list of respondents, stating that they were not necessary parties in the case. The plea had sought a probe by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) into the violence during the Jail Bharo agitation to demand quota for Patidars recently.
Lalji Patel, along with over 20 others, was arrested last month, after the court arrest movement turned violent in Mehsana. After his arrest, he moved Gujarat HC, demanding independent probe against him. “Gujarat police can’t act impartially, independently and fearlessly,” he alleged. Currently, he is lodged in Mehsana Jail in judicial custody.
Demanding an investigation by SIT, Lalji Patel alleged in the petition that “he has serious doubt about the integrity of the concerned police officers… These police officers are acting at the behest of the chief minister and the home minister….”
In the court, public prosecutor R C Kodekar and Lalji Patel’s lawyer B M Mangukia had a heated argument. While questioning the maintainability of the petition, Kodekar said that the petitioner’s lawyer should first read the law of the land before moving the court.
“The petitioner (Patel) is an accused who has levelled bald allegations against the Gujarat Chief Minister and Home Minister. Despite being an accused, he is demanding a separate investigation. There is no such law that gives an accused the right to demand an investigation by his favourite agencies. Also, police investigation has not even completed yet,” Kodekar told the court. He added that an accused can seek further probe only after the investigation was completed.
Justice Karia, while directing the state government to place all the records of the case papers on May 31, ordered, “There are serious allegations made against the respondent nos. 5 (CM) and 6 (MoS).” The order states, “At this juncture, this court deems fit that the respondents no. 5 and 6 are not necessary parties, and therefore, requires to be deleted…”