Amit Shah quizzed by CBI, feigns memory lapse

Last Updated 28 July 2010, 15:21 IST

A three-member CBI team led by Superintendent Amitabh Thakur began questioning Shah at the Sabarmati jail in the morning but is said to have encountered a recalcitrant Shah, who was Gujarat's minister of state for home.

Shah, a close aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, feigned ignorance and seemed in no mood to cooperate with the team, CBI sources said. His answers were evasive and he took refuge behind a failing memory.

"I have never been to these places" or "I don't remember" seemed to be his stock-in- trade answers, the sources said.

Shah has been charged with ordering the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi here.

The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has been accused of killing Sohrabuddin Sheikh on grounds that he was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative near Ahmedabad in a staged shootout Nov 26, 2005. His wife Kauserbi had also been missing since then.

Arrested on Sunday and sent to judicial custody, Shah was permitted by the court to be questioned in jail for three days beginning Wednesday between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. with the proceedings to be videorecorded.

In keeping with the directions of the court, the CBI team was accompanied by two videographers and a lawyer besides the jail superintendent. The questioning was conducted in the Lokmanya Tilak barracks of the Sabarmati jail where a special room has been prepared for the purpose.

The CBI team had 32 questions for the former minister, who was expected to take supplementary questions arising from his answers, an official said.

Investigators, meanwhile, have begun taking a closer look at the income tax records of six people considered close to Shah including absconding ADC bank chairman Ajay Patel, and director Yashpal Chudasama, besides three others.

Chudasama on Wednesday moved the special CBI court in absentia through his lawyer asking for a copy of the chargesheet.

(Published 28 July 2010, 07:05 IST)

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