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Amit Shah

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Subject: Ram Jethmalani, Amit, Death of Soharbuddin Sheikh
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Amit Shah

For mayor of Ahmedabad, see Amit Shah (mayor).
Amit Shah
Personal details
Born 1964
Chicago, US
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Residence Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Religion jainism

Amit Shah (born 1964) is an Indian politician from the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was Home Minister of Gujarat, but had to resign in 2010 after he was arrested on charges of having ordered a series of "encounter" killings by the State Police.[1]

Amit Shah is considered to be a confidant of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.[2] Currently on judicial bail, the Supreme Court has directed that he may not enter his home state of Gujarat where he may influence the investigations of the encounter killings.[3] In the interim, Narendra Modi has designated Shah as the BJP poll manager for the forthcoming (2014) Uttar Pradesh elections.[4]

In September 2013, D. G. Vanzara, a police officer who once worked under Shah, accused him and Modi of having given the orders to eliminate four people, including Tulsiram Prajapati (for which Shah has been charged with being "kingpin and prime accused"[5]). In Vanzara's words: "CBI had arrested me and my officers holding us responsible for carrying out alleged fake encounters. If that is true, [the CBI] have to arrest the policy formulators also as we, being field officers, have simply implemented the conscious policy of this government. ... I am of the firm opinion that the place of this government, instead of being in Gandhinagar should either be in Taloja Central Prison at Navi Mumbai or in Sabarmati Central Prison at Ahmedabad."[6] This letter led to a bandh called by the opposition, seeking Modi's resignation.[7]


Shah's father, Anilchandra Shah was a wealthy businessman. Shah worked as a stockbroker for some time. During this period he joined the BJP and came close to L K Advani. He managed several of Advani's election campaigns from Gandhinagar (Lok Sabha constituency).[8] He was then appointed Chairman of The Gujarat State Finance Corporation Limited, the youngest person in this post. He was later appointed chairman of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank.

In 2003. after the BJP won a second term, Narendra Modi inducted Shah as the youngest minister in the cabinet, and gave him an unprecedented ten portfolios. This included the Home ministry, which looks after the police apparatus in the state. He quickly emerged as Modi’s right-hand man in the new party. In 2004, with the central government about to repeal the repressive Prevention of Terrorism Act, he piloted the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (Amendment) Bill through Gujarat state assembly amid an opposition walk-out.[9]

Role in Sohrabuddin Shaikh Fake Encounter

Main article: Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter

On 11 June 2005, Sohrabuddin Shaikh, a man with a criminal record, was shot and killed by the Gujarat Police.[10][11] After the arrest of senior IPS officer Abhay Chudasama in the case a few months ago, the CBI alleged that Sohrabuddin had been killed by the state police in what the Gujarat state has admitted to be a staged encounter.[12] His wife Kauser Bi and later, witness to the abduction, Tulsi Prajapati, were also killed. Initial investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department of the state police indicted senior police officers who were reporting to Amit Shah, including Chudasama and Vanzara, who have been arrested.[13] Evidence built up that these officers may not have been working on their own, and after charges of a cover-up,[14] the Supreme Court of India ordered the investigation to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.[15]

Indian Police Service officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, Abhay Chudasama, Dinesh M N, and eight other policemen are under arrest in the case. D G Vanzara was known to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who also holds the home ministry, and allegedly transferred him across several posts so that the series of killings could be orchestrated.[16] While handing over the case to the CBI, the state CID had deleted evidence of phone calls linking Amit Shah in the case; ex-DGP OP Mathur, currently the director of the newly created Raksha Shakti University of police sciences, has been indicted for this criminal deletion of evidence.[17] After the original records revealed that Amit Shah had made 331 calls to Vanzara and other police officers around that time, he was named as the prime accused in the case.[18][19] This high degree of direct communication from a minister to on-duty officers has been widely questioned in the media and legal circles.[20]

Amit Shah is the second minister under Narendra Modi to be arrested; earlier Maya Kodnani, minister for Women and Child Development, resigned after being arrested on murder charges relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots.[21] In 2013 Sept, a Public Interest Litigation before the supreme court has revealed a video recording of two BJP ministers under Modi, in which they are allegedly conspiring to help Amit Shah by taking over the defence for Prajapati.[22]

Court case

Shah has been charged with murder, and with being the head of an extortion syndicate.[23] Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani represented Amit Shah,[24] along with others such as Congress affiliated criminal lawyer Nirupam Nanavati.[25] During his questioning, he apparently claimed loss of memory on most questions.[26]

BJP has accused the central government of being vindictive and using CBI against the BJP party.

After having several bail applications rejected, Shah was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court in October 2010. Following this, the CBI has approached the Supreme Court to cancel bail granted by the High Court on the charge that he could tamper with the evidences, on which Amit Shah was asked to stay out of Gujarat while his bail petition challenge was in court. Shah left for Mumbai following the Supreme Court order,[27] and is thought to be presently in Delhi.

In February, the prime minister Manmohan Singh, during a comment on the delay in introducing a bill in parliament hinted that BJP may have been blackmailing the government[28] by adopting a hostile approach[29] and obstructing the political process, in order to benefit Amit Shah:

"In private... they say you have taken a decision against a person, who was a minister in Gujarat. You must reverse it or... I don't want to add further."[30]

The CBI has also been arguing before the Supreme Court that the Tulsi Prajapati murder was also ordered by Shah and that the case should be transferred out of Gujarat where it may be subject to interference.[31]

External links

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