Elusive Gujarat minister surrenders, is arrested

Written by Political Bureau | Ahmedabad | Updated: Jul 27 2010, 04:08am hrs
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah on Sunday, after he surrendered at its office in Gandhinagar. He has been charged with murder in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter and the killing of his wife, Kausar Bi.

CBI officials immediately whisked Shah away to the residence of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, AY Dave in Ahmedabad, who sent him to judicial custody till August 7. The CBI did not seek his police remand.

Shah, who had remained untraceable after the CBI issued its first summon on Friday, had driven to the CBI office around 2.10 pm after making a surprise appearance at the BJP state headquarters in Ahmedabad, to claim that he was innocent before the media.

He arrived at the CBI office in the Old Secretariat accompanied by a bunch of senior state BJP leaders including state president RC Faldu, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Vijay Rupani, Shankar Chaudhary, Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Nolesh Patel. Stepping out of a Toyota Innova, Shah quietly walked into the CBI office on the third floor of the old secretariat building, while his supporters kept silent.

CBI officials including DIG P Kandaswamy and SP Amitabh Thakur hastened down the stairs to the ground floor and stopped Shah from climbing up to their office. Though Shah suggested that they go up, Kandaswamy refused and told him that he was being taken to the court.The ex-minister was taken in an official Tavera preceded by an escort car.

After arresting Amit Shah, the CBI produced him before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, AY Dave, at his residence in the Maninagar area. In a surprising move, the CBI demanded that Shah be sent to judicial custody. It took barely 10 minutes before the magistrate ordered that Shah be sent to judicial custody. As Shah was taken to the magistrates home in the Ram-Kishan Co-operative Housing Society in Maninagar around 3 pm, the gates of the society were shut after CBI officers, along with Shah and his lawyer Devang Nanavati, went inside.

The magistrate sat on a swing in the verandah with Mitesh Amin, another lawyer of Shah, beside him on a chair. The magistrate heeded a request to wait since senior lawyer Nirupam Nanavati was to come and represent Shah.

The CBI lawyer, RS Meena, tendered an application requesting that Shah be sent to judicial custody. This was granted by the magistrate, who ordered him to be placed in Sabarmati jail till August 7. During the proceedings, the magistrate asked Shah if he had any complaints against the CBI after his arrest. Shah told his lawyer to convey that after his arrest no interrogation has been done by the CBI.

Shahs lawyer Devang Nanavati said he was surprised that Shah had not been interrogated at all by the CBI after his arrest. It has not even asked to get Shah in its custody. This shows that the CBI has no material against him and it is a concocted case, he claimed.

Tomorrow, we will decide on the issue of exercising legal rights, he added.