In a sudden move to put the Congress on the mat after the embarrassment it faced in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, the BJP-led Gujarat government has reopened a 13-year-old murder case.
The Ahmedabad Police arrested Abdul Wahab, a gangster, on Wednesday for the killing of a builder in 1997.
Wahab was an aide of the slain underworld don, Abdul Latif, who was killed in a police encounter immediately after the builder's death.
The builder, Sageer Ahmed, reportedly close to Congress leader and then chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela, was killed in 1997 for refusing to pay Rs 10 lakh protection money to Latif, who allegedly orchestrated the murder from jail.
Later, Latif was taken out of the Sabarmati Jail for questioning on the builder's murder. On the way, he was gunned down when he allegedly tried to flee.
Although the case had been closed after Latif's encounter, the police reopened it with the arrest of Wahab, saying Wahab's arrest had nothing to do with the encounter of Latif.
Deputy Commissioner of Ahmedabad Police's crime branch Himanshu Shukla said, "We are not reopening the Latif encounter case. Wahab has been arrested only after his involvement in the builder's murder came to light."
"Wahab's accomplice, Mohmmad Sidiq alias Ghanti, admitted that he carried out the murder of the builder at the behest of Wahab, who was also in jail at the time of the murder," Shukla said.
Although Shukla said Ghanti had executed the murder on Wahab's orders, the timing of the arrest is seen as an attempt with a political motive to reopen the Latif encounter case, since the Congress was in power during that period.
"The Modi government may try to fix some Congress leaders in order to avenge the arrest of his protege Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin encounter case," a retired police official said.