Congress leader charges Gujarat minister with graft

Gandhinagar, Feb 10 (Calcutta Tube) A Congress leader Tuesday accused Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Amit Shah of accepting a Rs.2.5 crore bribe from Ketan Parekh, allegedly involved in the stock market and Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank scams.

Demanding Shah be sacked and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry be instituted against him, former leader of the opposition Arjun Modvadia released copies of a probe report submitted in 2005 to the then chief secretary Sudhir Mankad, saying there was sufficient evidence to merit a CBI probe into the alleged bribery after getting Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s advice.

Modvadia not only demanded a probe into Shah’s role but also that of the chief minister.

As per the report, Shah, who was also a director of the Ahmedabad-based co-operative bank, accepted the money from Parekh during the first week of October 2004, to ensure that the bank would withdraw its special leave petition (SLP), appealing against bail granted to Parekh, from the Supreme Court.

Parekh allegedly duped the bank of over Rs.1,600 crore through unauthorised overdrafts for investment in the stock market. He is also alleged to have duped many other cooperative banks in Gujarat of over Rs.5,000 crore. Following the stock market collapse earlier this decade, he had defaulted on the bank loans and was declared an offender.

The Ahmedabad sessions court granted bail to Parekh on the condition that he would deposit Rs.380 crore with the court. The Gujarat High Court also approved the order, but after Parekh failed to pay up even the deposit amount, the bank moved a petition in the apex court for cancelling the bail.

According to Modhvadia, it was at this juncture that the deal was struck and the bank sought to withdraw its petition from the apex court. He said this was argued by BJP leader Arun Jaitley, and could not have happened without the knowledge of the chief minister.

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