The Central Bureau of Investigation began interrogating the former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, in the Sabarmati central jail complex on Wednesday.
A three-member team of the CBI led by superintendent Amitabh Thakur, one of the key investigators in the Sohrabuddin-Kausar Bi episode, reached the jail at 10.30 a.m. to begin the interrogation as permitted by the special CBI court. CBI advocate Aizaz Khan was present, besides the jail superintendent and a couple of videographers.
The court, while permitting the CBI to question Mr. Shah on the jail premises for three days between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. instructed the authorities to videograph the entire interrogation. Videography of the proceedings was demanded by Mr. Shah's advocate, Ram Jethmalani.
What transpired was not known, but some sources said Mr. Shah did not give much information. “I don't remember” and “I can't recollect” were his answers to most of the questions. The CBI officials are expected to return to the jail on Thursday again to continue the questioning.
The CBI sources said the investigators were seeking answers from Mr. Shah to 32 questions prepared on the basis of statements of the other accused. They did not rule out the possibility of confronting him with some of the co-accused police officers kept in the same jail but separately.
The CBI has also started taking a close look at the income tax records and other property dealings of six close aides of Mr. Shah, apparently to find some trail of the funds allegedly collected through extortion by Sohrabuddin and his accomplices at one time. Mr. Shah and another co-accused, the former Deputy Police Commissioner, Abhay Chudasma, were believed to be beneficiaries of this racket. The six included the chairman of the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank, Ajay Patel, and one of the directors, Yashpal Chudasma, both of whom are wanted by the CBI.
The CBI has listed the duo in the charge sheet filed against Abhay Chudasma in which Mr. Shah was also named an accused. Later, the CBI declared Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasma absconders and the court issued non-bailable warrants against them. Though absconding, Mr. Chudasma on Wednesday filed an appeal in the CBI court through his advocate for a copy of the chargesheet.