Sohrabuddin case: No show by Shah before CBI, to appear Friday

Minister Amit Shah will appear before CBI tomorrow after being summoned twice in the Sohrabuddin case.

Gandhinagar: Gujarat`s junior Home Minister
Amit Shah, who is close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday
did not show up before CBI for questioning in the Sohrabuddin
Sheikh fake encounter case but said he will appear tomorrow
after the agency sent a second summons during the day.

It is for the first time that a state minister has been
summoned in connection with the alleged fake encounter by
Gujarat Police near Ahmedabad in which Sohrabuddin, an alleged
gangster, was killed on November 26, 2005.
The CBI issued the second summons to the minister of
state for home to appear before it at the agency`s office
tomorrow after he did not show up within the stipulated time
of 1 PM today. Modi holds the Home portfolio.

The Minister said he would appear tomorrow after he was
given time till 1 PM by the probe agency.

"A second summon has been issued to me for tomorrow. I
would make myself available and would anwser all questions,"
Shah said in a statement from an undisclosed location.

Shah, a senior BJP leader, was holding the office as
minister of state for home when the encounter took place. The
CBI had the option of considering declaring Shah as an
absconder and arrest him if he ignored the summons.

Shah also said that he had no role in the encounter and
that his name in his capacity as MoS Home has "not come on
record anywhere."

The Minister said he was out of the capital for some
"personal work" when the CBI sent summons to his home to
appear before it.

"It was difficult to make it in the time limit of 1 PM
as I was out of time. This is surprising that a central agency
treats a home minister of a sate in this manner. It raises
some doubts abouyt their intentions. They could have given
time for me to make myself appear before them," he said.

Shah has been recently skipping cabinet meetings
including the one held yesterday and not attending office. His
whereabouts were also not publicly known.
"(Amit)Shah has been asked to appear before us today at
CBI office in Gandhinagar," CBI IG P Kandaswamy told reporters
earlier in the day.

Kandasway said the summons has been issued to Shah for
the purpose of examination as he is "acquainted with the
circumstances of the case."

Shah`s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani cast doubts at the
urgency shown in issuing the first summons earlier in the day.

"He was given summons at 10.30 AM this morning and asked
to come at 1 PM. That itself creates some doubts about the
bonafides of the investigation. No accused person gets such
short notice to come and anwser a summon for interrogation."

Jethmalani said Shah will appear before CBI tomorrow.

The state Government said it will cooperate with the
process of law on the issue of summons to Shah.

"I have come to know about it (issue of summons) from
media. Whatever is the process of law one would follow it,"
Government spokesman and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.

The State BJP, meanwhile, lashed out at the Congress
for allegedly misusing CBI.

"The Congress is misusing the CBI against BJP-ruled
states," BJP leader and MP Vijay Rupani said

In New Delhi, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said
"after selective leaks in the media, the CBI has now summoned
him. It has established the lowest benchmark."

Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said there should not
be any politics on the issue of probe in the Sohrabuddin case.

The CBI took over the investigations of the fake
encounter and mysterious murder of his wife Kausar Bi in
January this year on the direction of the Supreme Court.

"Summon have been issued to minister of state for home
Amit Shah for purpose of examination as he is acquainted with
circumstances of the case," CBI DIG Kandaswamy said.

"Supreme Court has directed us to investigate the fake
encounter case and we are doing it as per the laws laid down.
Further investigations is on and nothing more can be disclosed
in the case," he said.