Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Sunday wrote a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and asked him to instruct central agencies to probe in “impartial and objective manner” after allegations were levelled against the Rajya Sabha MP for his alleged association with a Gujarat hospital, where a suspected IS agent had worked before his arrest.
“Guilty, irrespective of faith or any affiliation, must be brought to justice and government has his unstinted support in this,” Patel said in his letter to the Union Home Minister. Patel, the political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, also took a dig at the ruling party over the controversy. “Framing terror charges must be done by agencies and not political leaders,” he said during a press conference.
The Congress leader also said matters involving national security should not be used to malign political opponents just for electoral gains.
On Friday, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani demanded the resignation of the Congress MP and said Patel should explain the circumstances behind hiring the youth and why the accused resigned a day before he was arrested. “Ahmed Patel is the person running the show at the hospital in Bharuch where he (Kasim, a laboratory technician) was employed. Patel was earlier a trustee of the hospital from which he resigned in 2014. However, he continued to run the show at the hospital where President Pranab Mukherjee was invited to inaugurate the premises in 2016,” Rupani had said.
In a press conference, Rupani had said, “Just two days before being caught, they had resigned or their resignation were procured. This looks suspicious. What is the connection. Did you know or did you didn’t? You have to tell the nation. Both Congress and Rahul Gandhi should also respond about the connection. It was a danger to the security of the nation. Doubts have risen in the minds of people. We are demanding that Ahmed Patel should resign from Rajya Sabha and Ahmedbhai and Congress should clarify on the matter,” he added.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told The Indian Express: “The BJP is fighting elections on the plank of development in Gujarat. But what has been exposed by the Gujarat ATS is alarming. The ISIS terrorists nabbed by the Gujarat ATS were planning to attack Jewish religious places and leaders. One of them was working with a hospital that has been patronised by Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Now Congress owes an explanation on this.”
Meanwhile, denying all the allegations, Congress’s Randeep Surjewala told The Indian Express, “The BJP is jittery as it is facing imminent defeat in Gujarat.” “The facts are unequivocal. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hospital in Bharuch is a charitable hospital employing close to 200 employees. Ahmed Patel or any family member are neither its trustees nor have anything to do with recruitment or engagement of employees,” he added.
As per the hospital’s website, Patel was a member of the trustee board and had been associated with its foundation. However, Jayesh N Patel, a trustee of the hospital denied that “Ahmed Patel or any of his family members are connected with the hospital and the trust in any away”.
Gujarat ATS on Wednesday arrested Steamerwala and Mirza for plotting a terror attack on a synagogue in Ahmedabad. According to FIR, Steamerwala resigned a day before from the hospital and was planning and preparing for emigration (Hijrah) to Jamaica in immediate future and indulge in jihad under guidance of Abdullah el-Faisal, a radical preacher based in Jamaica.”