Free Press Journal

Court cancels NBW against Pravin Togadia in a 1996 case


Ahmedabad: A city court today cancelled the non-bailable warrant (NBW) against VHP leader Pravin Togadia in a 1996 attempt to murder and rioting case.

Metropolitan Magistrate J A Barot cancelled the NBW after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader appeared before it.

After coming out of the court, Togadia said there was a “conspiracy” to arrest him and “silence his voice” at a time when he was demanding enactment of laws for building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and banning cow slaughter across the country.

The Magistrate had issued NBWs against Togadia and 37 others yesterday in the case after they failed to appear before him despite being summoned multiple times.

Babu Jamuna Patel, the BJP MLA from Daskroi in Ahmedabad district, was among those against whom NBWs were issued. He also appeared in the court which cancelled his NBW.

Togadia claimed he never received any summons from the court.

“This is a conspiracy to silence me when I am taking up important issues like pressing for a law for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya when the BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha, a law for banning cow slaughter, implementation of Uniform Civil Code and resettlement of displaced Kashmiri Pandits at their homes,” he told reporters.

The VHP international working president said he had full faith in the court.

Togadia said he would reveal at an “appropriate time” who wanted to silence his voice.

Speaking about the more than two-decade old matter, Togadia said it was a political case, and claimed he was not involved in the incident.

“Why did I not receive any summons when the court has issued five summonses in my name so far?” Togadia sought to know.

The case pertains to a political event of the BJP at the Sardar Patel Stadium here on May 20, 1996.

At the event, the BJP’s Atmaram Patel and several other leaders were attacked allegedly by supporters of former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

Atmaram Patel was considered close to Shankarsinh Vaghela, who had rebelled at that time after the first BJP government was installed in Gujarat in 1995.

The BJP had then made Keshubhai Patel the chief minister instead of Vaghela, who was also a strong contender for the post.

Atmaram Patel, then a minister, was stripped and attacked allegedly by Keshubhai Patel loyalists.

A complaint in this regard was lodged by Atmaram Patel with the Naranpura police station. Police had registered a case of attempt to murder and rioting against 38 people, including Togadia, who was present at the function.

The investigation was later handed over to the Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch (DCB).

The court had issued several summonses in the case, but none of the accused responded after which it issued NBWs.