The Election Commission on Thursday served a showcause notice to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged justification of the killing of businessman Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter on November 26, 2005, near Ahmedabad.
He brought up the issue while addressing a public meeting at Mangrol on Tuesday.
The Commission held him “prima facie” guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct. The notice is returnable by 11 am on Saturday.
Acting on the complaint by human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, the EC said: “The Commission, prima facie, is of the view that the references to Sohrabuddin and linking his name to terrorism, made in a speech, amounts to indulging in activity which may aggravate existing differences, creating mutual hatred and cause tension between different communities.”
Meanwhile, an agency report from Kapalvad in Gujarat quoted the chief minister as saying that he never justified fake encounters. In what appears to be a climbdown, Modi said: “I do not justify fake police encounters.”
This, however, could not cut much ice with KTS Tulsi, the senior counsel representing the state before the Supreme Court in the fake encounter case, who decided to return the brief. “Yes, I have decided not to represent the Gujarat government in the Sohrabuddin case,” Tulsi told HT.
The senior advocate said if the remarks attributed to the Chief Minister were correct, it was contrary to what the state government told the Supreme Court on affidavits. “Unless the Chief Minister gives a suitable clarification and offers to apologise, it is not possible for me to represent Gujarat government as special counsel.”
In New Delhi, BJP leader VK Malhotra said that Modi will try to convince Tulsi. But he added: “There are no dearth of lawyers,. Modi will try to convince him... if not, there are other counsels.”