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Sonia sought to malign Modi: BJP

"We know how an earlier SIT chief was rewarded with a diplomatic assignment after he gave a ‘clean chit’ to the Chief Minister," said the Congress.

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New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday alleged that Congress President Sonia Gandhi was behind a conspiracy to malign then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi through Ahmed Patel as well as activist Teesta Setalvad following the 2002 riots in a bid to destabilize the state government.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Sambit Patra alleged that the now-dead Ahmed Patel paid money to Setalvad. He asked Sonia Gandhi to come clean on it.

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“The Congress committed a conspiracy to malign Narendra Modi after the Gujarat riots… (The now in jail) Setalvad and others were not working for humanity, they were working with ulterior motives,” he said.

“They had two objectives. The first was the dismissal and destabilization of the Gujarat government, the second was to frame innocent people in the Gujarat riots.

“The political conspiracy was revealed by SIT, which said the aim was to malign Gujarat… Who were the ones driving this conspiracy? Ahmed Patel, a former leader of the Congress and political advisor to Sonia Gandhi.

“Ahmed Patel is just a name, the driving force was his boss Sonia Gandhi. Through her chief political advisor Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi attempted to malign Gujarat’s image. Through him, she attempted to defame Narendra Modi. She was the architect of this entire conspiracy,” Patra said.

Patra said Rs. 30 lakh was given to Setalvad by Sonia Gandhi.

“Soniaji gave Padmashree to Setalvad… She was also in the kitchen cabinet of Sonia Gandhi, the NAC, which was a non-constitutional body,” Patra said, adding that Setalvad wanted a Rajya Sabha seat too.

“We came to power, otherwise it’s possible that she might have been the Home Minister today.”

In an affidavit opposing Setalvad’s bail plea, the Gujarat Police, in an affidavit filed on Friday, said she was part of a conspiracy to destabilize the Gujarat government after the riots. Police said the conspiracy was planned at the behest of Ahmed Patel.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh refuted the charges against Patel as “mischievous” and “manufactured”.

“This is part of the Prime Minister’s systematic strategy to absolve himself of any responsibility for the communal carnage unleashed when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002. It was his unwillingness and incapacity to control this carnage that had led then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to remind the Chief Minister of his ‘raj dharma’,” Ramesh said in a statement.

He said the SIT was “dancing to the tune of its political master and will it do wherever it is told to”.

“We know how an earlier SIT chief was rewarded with a diplomatic assignment after he gave a ‘clean chit’ to the Chief Minister,” said the Congress.

“Giving judgment through the press, in an ongoing judicial process, through puppet investigative agencies who trumpet wild allegations as supposed findings, has been the hallmark of the Modi-Shah duo’s tactics for years. This is nothing but another example of the same, with the added object of vilifying a deceased person since he is obviously unable and unavailable to refute such brazen lies,” Congress said.

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