After dodging the CBI for four days, former Gujarat minister Amit Shah had to go to an address he desperately wanted to avoid — the Sabarmati Central Jail.
This was after Shah, who quit as minister of state for home affairs on Saturday, sauntered into the CBI office with a posse of state BJP office bearers in Gandhinagar on Sunday.
The agency promptly arrested him for his alleged role in the murder of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter in November 2005 and for the killing of his wife Kauserbi days later.
Shah was then taken to a magistrate who remanded him to 13 days’ judicial custody. The next stop for Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s close aide was jail.
Asked why the CBI had not sought police custody for Shah to give investigators easy access to interrogate him, the agency’s joint director P. Kandaswamy said, “We have placed the evidence in the chargesheet to show his complicity in the crime. Therefore, at this point of time, his interrogation is not required.”
Another official, however, said without elaborating that the CBI’s strategy is to seek police custody after a few days.
Shah has been chargesheeted for murder, extortion, kidnapping and other charges under the Indian Penal Code.
Shah appeared before the CBI after making a dramatic entry at a press briefing at the BJP office in Ahmedabad. He told mediapersons the charges against him were “fabricated and politically motivated under instructions from the Centre”.
When a journalist asked him about the CBI’s charge of having been in constant touch with police officials held for the fake encounter, Shah shot back, “You go and get a job in the CBI”.
An agency official tracking Shah’s movements said he stayed with friends in the government and industry. They included a minister whose house is not located in the ministerial enclave and a prominent BJP MLA.
Shah also changed cars frequently and had almost stopped speaking on his phone, the official said. Asked where he was all these days, he brazenly said he was at a journalist friend’s house.