India

Former Union Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela Cries Foul After CBI Raid at his Home

Some of the stolen sculptures, which the DRI seized from a godown in Byculla where

AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT: The Central Bureau of Investigation raided the Gandhinagar residence of former union minister Shankarsinh Vaghela today in connection with a corruption case.

A dozen CBI officials searched the house for nearly 12 hours since early morning. Search operations were also conducted at nine locations in four cities – New Delhi, Gandhinagar, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Mr Vaghela accused the BJP-led Central government of pursuing vendetta politics. “It has been seven years of UPA-I. Why the inquiry was not initiated in these seven to ten years? This is nothing but vendetta politics of BJP,” he said.

Mr Vaghela, a former Union textile minister, and six others are accused of selling prime land belonging to the National Textile Corporation in Mumbai’s Parel area to a firm, allegedly causing a loss of Rs. 709 crore to the state exchequer in 2007-8.

A CBI spokesperson said the accused had entered into a “criminal conspiracy” and transferred the land to a Kolkata-based private firm in a wrongful manner, for a total consideration of Rs. 29.35 crore (approx). “An alleged loss of Rs. 709.27 crore (approx.) was caused to the government exchequer,” he said.

Sources in CBI say the FIR comes after more than a year-long preliminary inquiry into the matter. A case has been registered, accusing them of criminal conspiracy and cheating.

Mr Vaghela, a six-time Member of Parliament from Gujarat, had begun his political career with the BJP, but later fell out with the saffron party, and shifted to Congress in 1998. He was a minister in UPA-1 during 2004-09 and is currently the leader of opposition in Gujarat.