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Ahmed Patel May File Defamation Suit Against Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

Ahmed Patel issued a statement rejecting the allegations and said he had resigned as director of the hospital in 2015, a year before the suspected operative joined as an employee.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18_pallavighosh

Updated:October 28, 2017, 7:59 PM IST
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Ahmed Patel May File Defamation Suit Against Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani
File photo of Congress Rajya Sabha Member Ahmed Patel. (Getty Images)
Congress MP Ahmed Patel is considering filing a defamation suit against Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani after he said that a suspected ISIS operative arrested recently used to work at a hospital where Patel had been a trustee earlier and demanded his resignation.

A source close to Patel said that the political secretary to Sonia Gandhi was in talks with his lawyers to seek advice on filing a criminal defamation case.

Patel also issued a statement rejecting the allegations and said he had resigned as director of the hospital in 2015, a year before the suspected operative joined as an employee. The Sardar Patel Hospital in Ankleshwar, too, issued a statement corroborating Patel’s version.

But ahead of the Gujarat polls in December, the BJP has latched on to the opportunity to pile pressure on the Congress and has also dragged Rahul Gandhi into the controversy.

Rupani said in Gandhinagar that Rahul and Patel owe a clarification to the nation as the matter pertains to national security.

“Imagine what would have happened if these two terrorists were not arrested... Patel, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress must come clean on the issue. We also want Patel to resign as Rajya Sabha MP,” he demanded.

Congress, on its part, is treading very carefully because of fear of polarisation. Patel in his statement rubbishing the allegations raised the issue of Gujarati pride and commitment to fight terror.

“My party and I appreciate the ATS' effort to nab the two terrorists. I demand strict and speedy action against them. The allegations put forward by the BJP are completely baseless,” Patel tweeted.

A proposed press conference by Kapil Sibal was also cancelled at the last minute because of fears that it could boomerang.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram then came to the defence of Patel and said he was “amazed by the outrageous demands” for resignation.

“Ahmed Patel was a trustee of the hospital and had resigned in 2015. This person who was arrested seems to have joined the hospital as a technician last year and had resigned a couple of days prior to his arrest,” the former Union minister said.

“Now, if somebody who has joined in the last one year as a technician has ISIS connect, then how a trustee of three years ago is responsible,” he asked.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat Congress also levelled allegations of corruption against the BJP and claimed rules were flouted for the sanction of a township on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Senior party leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged that provisions of the General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) where flouted by officials of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) in collusion with Urban Development Minister Urban Development Minister Nitin Patel and his predecessor Anandiben Patel.

“Sanction to the Gokuldham Township on the outskirts of Ahmedabad was granted arbitrarily by officials of the AUDA bypassing the CEO. A scam worth over Rs 500 crore was done to grant permission to promoters of Goyal Builders. It is no secret that the promoter of Goyal Builders is a BJP supporter,” Modhvadia alleged.
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