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Haren Pandya's killers get life

Jun 25, 2007 07:06 PM IST India India

New Delhi: A POTA court in Ahmedabad has sentenced nine people to life imprisonment for the murder of senior BJP leader Haren Pandya.

Two others were sentenced to seven years imprisonment and one to five years imprisonment for murdering Pandya on March 26, 2003. Those sentenced to life imprisonment include the mastermind of the high-profile murder, Ashgar Ali.

Pandya, a former home minister of Gujarat and a known Modi rival in the party, was killed in the posh Law Garden area of Ahemdabad on March 26, 2003. He was shot dead by unidentified persons while he was taking a morning walk.

As many as 12 people had been arrested for the murder, including the kingpin Azghar Ali. The CBI, which investigated the case, claims all 12 have terrorist links. The accused are currently lodged at the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahamedabad.

Interestingly, immediately after the murder, Pandya's father Vithal Pandya had alleged a political conspiracy in the murder and pointed fingers at Modi. However, the CBI didn't find any such links. Asghar, the main assailant, was later arrested from Hyderabad.

According to CBI, Asghar had been contracted by Ahmedabad-based cleric Mufti Sufian to eliminate Pandya to avenge post-Godhra riots.