Raj Bhavan is functioning like Congress Bhavan, says BJP

The BJP staged demonstrations here on Tuesday to protest against the appointment of the Lokayukta by Governor Kamala Beniwal, “bypassing” the Narendra Modi government.

State BJP spokesman I.K. Jadeja alleged that the Gandhinagar Raj Bhavan was functioning like the “Congress Bhavan.” Congress sources, however, said the sudden spurt in the BJP campaign both in Parliament and in the State, though the appointment was “totally constitutional, legal and within the powers of the Governor vested by the State Lokayukta Act,” was only to cover up the Modi government's embarrassment over the Gujarat High Court's judgment in the Haren Pandya murder case.

A Division Bench on Monday acquitted all the 12 accused of murder charges and reprimanded the Central Bureau of Investigation for a “botched-up” probe in not finding out the real culprits behind the murder of the former Minister of State for Home.

Both State Congress president Arjun Modhvadia and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil said the judgment only strengthened the suspicion that the State police under Mr. Modi and the CBI under the then Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani deliberately “shielded the real culprits.” Another former Minister of State for Home, Gordhan Jhadaphia, demanded a re-investigation by the CBI.

Mr. Jhadaphia, who was Minister of State (Home) during the 2002 communal riots, alleged a “larger conspiracy” behind the elimination of Pandya, who was then at loggerheads with the Chief Minister and was believed to be fast emerging as the main counter-force to Mr. Modi.

“Now after the High Court judgment, we are once again faced with the same question: Who killed Pandya? Who conspired to kill him and why?”

Mr. Jhadaphia, who quit the BJP to form the Mahagujarat Janata Party, demanded that the State either get the case reinvestigated by the CBI or approach the Supreme Court for a Special Investigation Team to probe it afresh.

The wife of the slain leader, Jagruti Pandya, expressed “satisfaction” over the judgment, pointing out that all along she held the view that those nabbed were not the real culprits and that the killers were still roaming free. Even last year she had written to Mr Advani and BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, besides Mr Modi and other senior leaders, seeking “re-investigation” into the murder.

Pandya's father, Vithhalbhai Pandya, who died last year, had alleged that his son was killed as part of a “political conspiracy” and that the CBI did not probe the case with “professional ethics because of the acute political pressure” from the then top BJP brass. He alleged that some key witnesses were deliberately not examined to “shield the real culprits.”

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