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Rioters,bootleggers enter fray,hide their ‘body of work’

A number of candidates cutting across party lines are facing serious criminal charges but have failed to declare the cases pending against them.

Written by Ujjwala Nayudu | Ahmedabad | Published: October 3, 2010 6:10:08 am

Candidates facing serious charges make no mention of their history-sheets in polls affidavits

A number of candidates cutting across party lines are facing serious criminal charges but have failed to declare the cases pending against them at the time of filing nominations for the civic polls due on October 10. While some of them have been booked for their role in the 2002 communal riots,others are facing charges of assault,bootlegging and many more. When confronted,while some said charges were too old,others said the Election Commission had not asked them to do so.

Fula Vyas,a BJP candidate from Nobelnagar ward,was booked for his alleged role in Naroda Gam communal riots in 2002. He was in jail for three months and the trial in the massacre case is still on. Vyas’ affidavit (a copy of which is with The Indian Express) makes no mention of this. In fact,it claims he has a zero crime record.

“Yes,I am an accused in the Naroda Gam case. I didn’t mention this or other offences because the form that candidates need to fill requires only details of the last six months. Since I have not committed any crime in the last six months,I did not mention any,” he told The Indian Express. Vyas seemed unaware that Clause 1A of the form asks candidates to furnish details of all criminal cases they have been facing,including case numbers and IPC sections. Clause 1C clearly says a candidate must fill details if he/she was was sentenced or accused in any criminal case in the last six months.

Congress candidate Taufiq Khan Pathan,who is contesting from the Rakhial ward,has several cases of assault and rioting pending against him. Pathan,according to police records,was also found to be involved in inciting communal clashes. He was booked twice for assault,in 1998 and 2007.

But Khan maintained his innocence. “Those were false complaints lodged against me. Actually,my wife was admitted to L G Hospital since she was suffering from chikungunya. The canteen staff at hospital refused to enter her room to give her food. I complained against the staff and in retaliation,they complained to the police that I had assaulted them.”

A Congress candidate from Gomtipur Ward,Iqbal Sheikh,was involved in several assault cases in Ahmedabad. “There were cases registered against me for causing hurt,but they were all for a cause. As a councillor,I had to raise my voice against the municipal corporation for the benefit of the people. The corporation authorities lodged fake complaints against me,” Sheikh said.

Rohit Vaghela,the BJP candidate from Gomtipur ward,was booked for violating prohibition laws. Police records also show he was caught carrying bottles of Indian-made foreign liquor. He was even detained once by the police for going to the district collector’s office in an inebriated state and creating a ruckus in the premises. Vaghela said,“Those incidents did happen but since they are old,I did not feel the need to mention them in the affidavit.” There are many such candidates,but a majority of them have claimed zero criminal cases in their affidavits.

When contacted,Babu Patel,vice-president of the state Congress,said,“In our party,such candidates get eliminated at the Panchayat or Nagarpalika levels. They could not have reached this level if they had such cases against them. Our candidates have no criminal records.” Ahmedabad BJP president Pankaj Shah was unavailable for comment despite several attempts.

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