Amit Shah, once Gujarat CM-in-waiting, now faces jail again

The former home minister of Gujarat has seen his meteoric rise come to a crashing halt after being implicated in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati encounter cases.

FP Staff September 06, 2012 11:11:22 IST
Amit Shah, once Gujarat CM-in-waiting, now faces jail again

Amit Shah, former Home Minister in Gujarat could soon find himself in jail again after the CBI filed an appeal seeking to cancel his bail in the Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case, where the aide to Chief Minister is accused of ensuring the death of the sole witness to the encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh.

Who is Amit Shah?

At one time, Shah was a close aide to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and headed the crucial home portfolio in the government since 2002.

Amit Shah once Gujarat CMinwaiting now faces jail again

Will the former minister be arrested again? AFP

Shah originally started out with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and  then worked with the BJP's youth wing, Yuva Morcha, a responsibility he was reportedly entrusted with, by Modi.

A graduate in science, his rise from a district level worker for the BJP to the ministerial post was seen as evidence of his proximity to the Gujarat Chief Minister. He replaced Haren Pandya as Home Minister after the latter put in his papers after a fallout with Modi over the handling of the 2002 communal riots.

Shah was so influential in the Gujarat government that some saw him as being the next in line to hold the Chief Minister's post if Modi made the jump to national politics, an NDTV report said.

Despite not being very popular among his colleagues at the time, Shah reportedly had the trust of the Gujarat Chief Minister, and held various positions of power in the Gujarat unit of the BJP and even some sporting associations in the state.

Tulsi Prajapati and Sohrabuddin Shaikh case

Tulsi Prajapati was the sole eyewitness to the 2005 encounter killing of alleged terrorist Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi by officials from the Gujarat Police.

Sheikh and his wife were allegedly taken into custody by Gujarat police officials after which they were killed. Sheikh was accused of masterminding a terror plot to attack and kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

However, a year later Prajapati was also killed in an extra judicial killing by the Gujarat Police.

Amit Shah's role in the extra judicial killings

After initially being investigated by the Gujarat police, the case was handed over to the CBI by the Supreme Court.

The CBI had alleged that Shah was the "kingpin" of the conspiracy which led to the extra judicial killings of Sheikh and his wife and had arrested the minister in 2010.

The CBI has alleged that the minister had conspired with the police officials to abduct Sohrabuddin, his wife. Shah was also accused by the CBI of running an extortion racket with police officials using gangsters like Sheikh.

Call records, that were accessed by Tehelka, showed that the former minister was in constant touch with the police officials involved in the murders of Sheikh, his wife and Prajapati.

He was later granted bail by the Supreme Court but was out on bail and asked to stay out of Gujarat in order to prevent influencing witnesses.

The CBI filed a charge sheet against Shah in the Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case on Tuesday in which 20 persons, including former state police chief PC Pande, IPS officers O P Mathur, D G Vanzara and Geetha Johri have been accused of colluding to carry out the extra judicial killing and then suppress evidence.

Where is Amit Shah now?

Despite being exiled out of Gujarat, Shah reportedly still enjoys the trust of Modi and the party. The party has constantly claimed that Shah is a victim of political conspiracy and that he was innocent.

Shah was also reportedly in the running for a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat since he couldn't contest polls in the state due to the Supreme Court's conditions. However, he was subsequently not offered a seat and is still working for the party in Delhi.

After the charge sheet was filed in the Tulsi Prajapati case, the CBI is seeking the cancellation of the minister's bail and he could face another period in jail if the court accepts the investigating agency's plea.

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