AHMEDABAD: In a scathing attack on the Centre following the Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea to shift the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case outside Gujarat, Chief Minister Mr Narendra Modi on Saturday asked whether the state was considered a part of "enemy" country.
"Do you not consider Gujarat as a part of India? Why is Gujarat being treated as if it was part of an enemy state? Are judges of Gujarat useless? Other courts of the country are good, but courts in Gujarat are bad," he asked.
Mr Modi’s remarks at a function here came a day after the CBI filed a status report in the Sohrabuddin case in the Supreme Court, urging it to shift the case outside Gujarat for a "fair trial" saying "the atmosphere is not conducive in the state."
Mr Modi accused Congress of playing vote bank politics on the fake encounter case and blatantly using the CBI.
"There is an attempt to pollute the environment of Gujarat. This is an insult of the judicial system of Gujarat.. its judges..Its lawyers," Mr Modi said.
The firebrand Chief Minister accused the Centre of targetting him for the last eight years. "They are trying to malign my name for the last eight years. But now they have started maligning the judicial system of the state. I will not tolerate this. They can attack me but why the judicial system?" the Chief Minister asked.
"Am I doing anything wrong by fighting terrorism.. Have I done anything wrong by arresting the accused of Ahmedabad blasts. Why I am being stopped from fighting terrorism?" he asked.
Mr Modi has stepped up the offensive since the arrest of his close aide and former minister Amit Shah, by the CBI for alleged involvement in the case. "Gujarat’s peace, brotherhood, development and progress is not liked by some people. They are working towards maligning it. There have been serious efforts to maintain peace in the state. But they do not want peace in Gujarat. They want to demean it," he alleged.
Citing the example of the Best Bakery case, in which the trial was held in a Mumbai court, Mr Modi said even though the case was transferred to Mumbai, the investigation was done by Gujarat police and the case papers and charge sheet was prepared by them. "Only the courtroom and judge was from Mumbai, rest including the investigation was by Gujarat police, based on which the accused were convicted," he said.
Similarly, he said in the Bilkis Bano case, which was first transferred outside Gujarat, and then handed over to CBI, all persons except one named in the charge sheet filed by Gujarat police were convicted. "This shows that Gujarat police was correct and CBI wrong," the Chief Minister said while accusing the CBI of bias and training its guns on the courts, judges and people of Gujarat.
Mr Modi has slammed the CBI for filing a case against Shah, alleging that it was a political attempt to undermine his government. The CBI, which is probing the case, believes that Shah ordered Gujarat’s seniormost policemen to eliminate Sohrabuddin because he had become a recurring problem for marble traders in Rajasthan, who were tired of his extortion attempts.
Sohrabuddin and his wife, Kauser bi, were killed in November 2005 in alleged fake encounters. The Gujarat police branded Sohrabuddin as a Lashkar-e-Toiba member who planned to assassinate Modi.
Meanwhile, according to a CNN IBN report, an important witness of the CBI has claimed that Sohrabuddin was eliminated after a ` 10 crore deal was struck between the former home minister of Rajasthan and the state’s marble lobby.
The witness, Azam Khan shared a jail cell with Tulsiram Prajapati, who allegedly witnessed Sohrabuddin’s killing and was later killed himself. Khan claimed that BJP leader and former Rajasthan home minister, Mr Gulab Chand Kataria was paid ` 10 crore by RK Marbles to eliminate Sohrabuddin, who was extorting money from the marble traders, the report said.