Fresh tapes have emerged on the Gujarat government’s surveillance of a woman architect in 2009. The new tapes that have been released by lawyer Mukul Sinha claim to show that Amit Shah, former Minister of State for Home and close ally to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, ordered IPS officer G.L. Singhal, now an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, to keep the woman’s family under watch during visits with IAS officer Pradeep Sharma.
The officer was asked to keep the family under watch when it was on a leisure trip to Bor Lake, on the outskirts of Bhavnagar, without her.
The recordings additionally suggest that the Gujarat police tracked her movements in Bangalore also.
All along, the Gujarat government has maintained that the surveillance was ordered following a personal request from the woman’s father who was concerned about the risk Mr. Sharma posed to her. Mr. Sinha said the “new evidence” contradicted this claim.
“The recorded conversation of August 18, 21, 22 and 23rd August, 2009, totally demolishes the story of the Bharatiya Janata Party that [Chief Minister] Narendra Modi had provided police cover to the woman (name withheld) to “protect” her from the harassment by Pradeep Sharma,” Mr. Sinha said on his website, truthofgujarat.com, where the audio recordings and transcripts were released.
Meanwhile, Gujarat government spokesperson and Finance Minister Nitin Patel told the media, “He was not aware of this recording and could not comment further.”
In the new tapes, Mr. Shah apparently asks Mr. Singhal to make “arrangements” and “increase the number of persons” on surveillance duty during a visit by the woman architect’s family to Mr. Sharma’s residence in Bhavnagar. He was the then municipal commissioner.
According to the recorded conversations, on August 18, 2009, Mr. Sharma met the woman’s ailing mother here. He visited her house in his official car and spent 15 minutes with her.
Her father, his wife, their two sons, son’s wife and a baby left for Bhavnagar in two cars on August 22. They reached Bhavnagar in the evening and went straight to Sharma’s official residence and stayed with him till late in the evening. Then the family went to the Circuit House where they stayed for the night. They started for Ahmedabad the next morning.
Then, Mr. Singhal is learnt to have informed Mr. Shah about the woman’s location in Bangalore.
The next day, Mr. Singhal informed Mr. Shah about a family visit to “an old palace of a king near Bor lake” and their return journey, including stopping for petrol and their likely route.
“In doing this meticulous job of tracking Pradeep Sharma and the… [woman’s family], Amit Shah has established the close relationship between Pradeep Sharma and the… family, destroying the BJP’s allegation that [the woman] was facing threat from Pradeep Sharma,” wrote Mr. Sinha on his website.