Congress defends Ahmed Patel over terror link charges, says BJP playing divisive politics to defame MP

Congress on Saturday came to the defense of party leader Ahmed Patel and accused the BJP of making baseless allegations against the Rajya Sabha MP. Senior leader Ashok Gehlot on Friday said that Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani is putting baseless allegations against Patel because he fears a defeat in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.

Rupani had alleged on Friday that a suspected Islamic State operative arrested recently used to work at a hospital where Patel had been a trustee earlier. He also demanded the Congress leader's resignation based on the charges.

Gehlot said that the allegations against Patel are a "perfect example of divisive politics by BJP to defaming the Congress leader." He added that the charges are "extremely painful for every Gujarati."

Reacting to Rupani's allegations against Patel, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Saturday said the BJP was hatching a conspiracy against the Congress MP and asked the party to look inwards.

"Sardar Patel Hospital is a charitable hospital in which 150-200 employees work. Neither Ahmed Patel nor any of his family members is a trustee of the hospital. They also don't hold any office of profit in the hospital," said Surjewala.

He said the ATS should initiate a probe against the suspected terrorists if it has evidence.

Patel had also rejected the charge as "completely baseless" and urged the BJP not to politicise matters pertaining to national security and divide the peace-loving Gujaratis.

Two suspected Islamic State operatives were arrested by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS). According to an FIR, one of the accused, Kasim Stimberwala, earlier worked as a technician at Sardar Patel Hospital in Ankleshwar town of Bharuch district.

Rupani had said in Gandhinagar that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Patel owe a clarification to the nation as the matter pertains to national security.

"This is a serious issue, as a terrorist was arrested from a hospital which is being run by Patel... It has now been revealed that though Patel had resigned as a trustee of that hospital in 2014, but he is still at the helm of the hospital's affairs," the chief minister alleged.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 28, 2017 14:32:56 IST

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