Amit Shah

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Amit Shah
Assembly Member
for Sarkhej
In office
2002–2007
Assembly Member
for Sarkhej
In office
2007–2012
Assembly Member
for Naranpura
In office
2012 – Incumbent.
Personal details
Born Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah[1]
1964 (age 49–50)
Mumbai, India[2]
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s) Sonal
Children Jay (son)
Parents Anilchandra Shah
Occupation Politician
Cabinet Government of Gujarat (2003–2010)
Portfolio Ministry of Home Affairs
Religion Hinduism

Amitbhai Anilchandra "Amit" Shah (born 1964 in Mumbai, India) is an Indian politician, who is a general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was minister of state for Home in the Gujarat government under Chief Minister Narendra Modi, but had to resign in 2010 after he was arrested on charges of having ordered a series of "encounter" killings by the State Police.[3][4]

Amit Shah is considered to be a confidant of Modi.[5] Currently on judicial bail, the Supreme Court has directed that he may not enter his home state of Gujarat where he may influence the investigations of the encounter killings.[6] In the interim, the BJP has appointed Shah as their campaign manager for Uttar Pradesh for the ongoing general elections.[7]

Life and political career[edit]

Amit Shah's father, Anilchandra Shah, was a wealthy businessman. Amit Shah holds a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry.[4] He was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Swayamsevak (RSS volunteer) and a leader of the BJP's youth wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He worked as a stockbroker for some time, during which period he joined the BJP and became close to L K Advani. He managed several of Advani's election campaigns from Gandhinagar.[8] He was then appointed Chairman of The Gujarat State Finance Corporation Limited, the youngest person in this post. He was later appointed chairman of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank.

In 2003, after the BJP won a second term, Modi inducted Shah as the youngest minister in the cabinet, and gave him an unprecedented ten portfolios. These included the Home ministry, which looks after the police apparatus in the state. He quickly emerged as Modi’s right-hand man in the new party. In 2004, with the central government about to repeal the repressive Prevention of Terrorism Act, he piloted the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (Amendment) Bill through Gujarat state assembly amid an opposition walk-out.[9]

Sohrabuddin Sheikh Fake Encounter[edit]

On 11 June 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a man with a criminal record, was shot and killed by the Gujarat Police.[10] After the arrest of senior IPS officer Abhay Chudasama in the case a few months ago, the CBI alleged that Sohrabuddin had been killed by the state police in what the Gujarat state has admitted to be a staged encounter.[11] His wife Kauser Bi and later, witness to the abduction, Tulsi Prajapati, were also killed. Initial investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department of the state police indicted senior police officers who were reporting to Amit Shah, including Chudasama and Vanzara, who have been arrested.[12] Evidence built up that these officers may not have been working on their own, and after charges of a cover-up,[13] the Supreme Court of India ordered the investigation to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.[14]

Indian Police Service officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, Abhay Chudasama, Dinesh M N, and eight other policemen are under arrest in the case. D G Vanzara was known to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who also holds the home ministry, and allegedly transferred him across several posts so that the series of killings could be orchestrated.[15] While handing over the case to the CBI, the state CID had deleted evidence of phone calls linking Amit Shah in the case; ex-DGP OP Mathur, currently the director of the newly created Raksha Shakti University of police sciences, has been indicted for this criminal deletion of evidence.[16] After the original records revealed that Amit Shah had made 331 calls to Vanzara and other police officers around that time, he was named as the prime accused in the case.[17][18] This high degree of direct communication from a minister to on-duty officers has been widely questioned in the media and legal circles.[19]

In 2013 Sept, a Public Interest Litigation before the supreme court has revealed a video recording of two BJP ministers under Modi, in which they are allegedly conspiring to help Amit Shah by taking over the defence for Prajapati.[20]

In September 2013, D. G. Vanzara, an accused in the Sohrabuddin encounter case in a letter accused Shah of misleading Narendra Modi and that he was only following the orders of the state government.[21] This letter led to a bandh called by the opposition, seeking Modi's resignation.[22]

Shah has been charged with murder, and with being the head of an extortion syndicate.[23] Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani represented Amit Shah,[24] along with others such as Congress affiliated criminal lawyer Nirupam Nanavati.[25] During his questioning, he apparently claimed loss of memory on most questions.[26]

BJP has accused the central government of being vindictive and using CBI against the BJP party.

After having several bail applications rejected, Shah was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court in October 2010. Following this, the CBI has approached the Supreme Court to cancel bail granted by the High Court on the charge that he could tamper with the evidences, on which Amit Shah was asked to stay out of Gujarat while his bail petition challenge was in court. Shah left for Mumbai following the Supreme Court order,[27] and is thought to be presently in Delhi.

The CBI has also been arguing before the Supreme Court that the Tulsi Prajapati murder was also ordered by Shah and that the case should be transferred out of Gujarat where it may be subject to interference.[28]

Survelliance Controversy[edit]

In November 2013, hundreds of telephone conversations between Amit Shah and senior Gujarat IPS officer G L Singhal, were released to the public through the website cobrapost.[29] The calls detailed how several apparatus of Gujarat police had been directed by Shah, then the Minister of State for the Home ministry, to snoop on a girl who was visiting Gujarat from Bangalore. Both Singhal and Shah repeatedly refer to a higher authority as 'Saheb' sparking the widely held belief that they were speaking of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, and that Shah ordered the illegal spying on his behest. The calls also showed that Shah had ordered spying on a senior IAS officer, Sharma, who was a friend of the woman.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Poornima Joshi. "The Organiser". The Caravan. 1 April 2014.
  2. ^ PR Ramesh. "His Master's Mind". Open. April 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sohrabuddin case: Gujarat minister Amit Shah resigns". Times of India. 24 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Who is Amit Shah?". NDTV. 12 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Amit Shah – Will Narendra Modi’s Man Friday turn to be his nemesis?". Zeenews.india.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  6. ^ "Stay out of Gujarat: Supreme Court to Amit Shah". CNN-IBN. 
  7. ^ "UPA govt responsible for country`s economic crisis: Amit Shah". Zeenews.india.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  8. ^ "What Amit Shah's fall really means – Rediff.com India News". News.rediff.com. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Gujarat keeps a terror law spare". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 3 June 2004. 
  10. ^ "Who was Sohrabuddin Sheikh?". NDTV. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Vanzara admits to fake encounter". Ibnlive.in.com. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "Further probe sought in Popular Builders case". The Times Of India. 22 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Operation Cover-Up". Tehelka.com. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  14. ^ ' + val.created_at + ' (2010-01-12). "Supreme Court assigns Sohrabuddin case to CBI". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  15. ^ "‘Cop transfers part of Shah plan’". Hindustan Times. 26 July 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Another top cop under scanner for ‘erasing’ Amit Shah reference in CD". Indianexpress.com. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "India's Independent Weekly News Magazine". Tehelka. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Explained: What CBI summons to Amit Shah means – Rediff.com India News". News.rediff.com. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  19. ^ "'If police control and command were not violated, Amit Shah would not be in this mess'". rediff.com. July 23, 2010 Gujarat High Court lawyer Anand Yagnik: Amit Shah cannot answer [why], when there are other authorities in the police structure between Shah and the ATS chief DG Vanzara and police officer Rajkumar Pandian, how and why should he talk to them directly?. 
  20. ^ ' + val.created_at + ' (2013-09-02). "BJP leaders conspired to protect Amit Shah, claims PIL". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  21. ^ "Suspended Gujarat IPS officer Vanzara quits, says Amit Shah misguiding Narendra Modi". 4 September 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "Gujarat bandh over Vanzara letter: Congress demands Modi`s resignation". Zeenews.india.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  23. ^ "Amit Shah was Head of an Extortion Syndicate, CBI to SC". News.outlookindia.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  24. ^ "Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case: Ram Jethmalani to represent the former Home Minister Amit Shah". Barandbench.com. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Senior Congress man Nirupam Nanavati is lawyer for Amit Shah – India – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "Sohrabuddin case: Amit Shah ducks CBI posers, feigns memory lapse – India – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  27. ^ [1][dead link]
  28. ^ Ashok Bagriya (9 Mar 2011). "Amit Shah behind Prajapati murder: CBI". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 17 Mar 2011. 
  29. ^ "News Detail". Cobrapost.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  30. ^ "Modi's confidant Amit Shah accused of illegal snooping on woman in B'lore". Ibnlive.in.com. 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2013-12-04.