Met man acquitted in Haren Pandya murder case: Wife

Slain BJP leader Haren Pandya`s wife Jagruti Pandya on Thursday said that she recently met Asgar Ali at an Andhra jail.

Ahmedabad: Slain BJP leader Haren Pandya`s wife Jagruti Pandya on Thursday said that she recently met Asgar Ali, the man acquitted by court of killing her husband, at an Andhra jail.

"On Tuesday, I visited Visakhapatnam jail in Andhra Pradesh and met Ali, who was initially accused by CBI of my husband`s murder but later acquitted by Gujarat High Court," Jagruti told reporters here.

Pandya, a former minister of state for home in the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat who had later fallen out with the chief minister, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden area of the city during his morning walk.

"I wanted to meet him ever since he had been here at Sabarmati jail to find out the truth behind his role (in Pandya`s murder)," she said.

"My meeting with Ali lasted for two-and-a-half hours in which he narrated how, on the instance of CBI, he was framed in the case and how he was tortured to make a false confession," Jagruti said.

She also alleged that Ali had no knowledge of her husband`s murder until his arrest by CBI on April 20, 2003.

After being acquitted by Gujarat High Court in the Pandya murder case, Ali was, however, arrested by Andhra Pradesh police in connection with another murder. He is at present lodged in Visakhapatnam jail.

"He told me that he had never visited Gujarat before April 2003, when a team of Gujarat police... Brought him to the city (before his) arrest by CBI," she said.

Within two days of Pandya`s murder, CBI had, at the state government`s request, taken over the probe into the case.

Jagruti further charged that despite her husband`s having been a BJP functionary, no party leader had come forward to help her after his murder.

"No leader from BJP, including the the Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani (during NDA regime), helped us. I have been fighting a lone battle for justice," she said.

"Ali revealed so many new things which even I was not aware of. Talks with him reinforced my belief that CBI was grossly misused by NDA government and that belief was also proved right by the high court judgement," she alleged.