After three videos purportedly showing Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel in the company of women went viral, PAAS co-convener Dinesh Bambhaniya on Thursday alleged that the top leadership of the Gujarat BJP hatched a conspiracy to frame the quota stir spearhead in a rape case.
Bambhaniya alleged that the “conspiracy” was hatched following directions from Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state party president Jitu Vaghani and that the PAAS will take legal recourse against this. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel refuted the allegations at a press conference later and said the party had nothing to do with the videos and that it appeared to be a result of disputes in PAAS.
Addressing a press conference, Bambhaniya said, “As Hardik has the support of women, the BJP systematically conspired to destroy the agitation and defame Hardik. And we have got all the information on that.” According to him, Rs 40 crore was paid to prepare the videos. He alleged the involvement of one Vipul Mendapara from Surat and industrialist Bimal Patel in the conspiracy. There are 52 CDs of PAAS leaders, prepared by the BJP, of which 22 are related to Hardik, he claimed.
Former Hardik close aide Chirag Patel, who joined the BJP in the presence of Nitin Patel at the press conference, said: “The Patidar quota stir is no more an agitation by the community, but has become an agitation of Hardik, who is using the money he got for the community in his aiyyashi (pursuit of pleasures). We had been hearing such things earlier also, but used to keep mum in the interest of the community as there was no evidence.”
The Deputy Chief Minister refuted the allegations against the BJP. “The PAAS convener should take legal steps instead of making baseless allegations…. Only to achieve political interest they should not misguide the community…. The PAAS conveners who are only speaking as per the script of the Congress should come out and seek the apology of the people of Gujarat instead of hiding their deeds,” he was quoted as saying in a BJP release.
“As PAAS has claimed that 52 more CDs are still there, it shows that they are aware that their own workers might have prepared them. It is an internal matter of the PAAS. BJP leaders have nothing to do with it. Instead of giving excuses, PAAS leaders need to come out clean and give proof,” Patel said.
At the press conference called by PAAS, Bambhaniya did not give a clear reply on whether the CDs contained morphed material, or Hardik and other PAAS conveners were honey-trapped. “Vipul Mendapara was given big fund to subject Hardik Patel to a situation like Narayan Sai, (son of self-styled godman Asaram, who is in jail under rape charge),” he alleged.
He alleged that as part of the conspiracy one girl has been paid Rs 3 lakh to lodge a rape FIR — to be filed shortly against Hardik. “Vipul is financially broken and there are cases of cheating against him… Currently, he is underground and police bandobast is at his residence,” he alleged.
The PAAS leader also alleged that some top police officials are involved in the conspiracy. “We have the evidence which we will produce as and when required,” he claimed. “We do not have faith in Gujarat police as they have lost credibility. There are top police officials of the Gujarat police who are involved in this (conspiracy). We are taking legal opinion and then will move court,” he said.