The team investigating the alleged contract killing of BJP leader Hiren Patel on September 27 in Jhalod of Dahod district is now looking into the possible political link after the questioning of the four arrested accused in the case.
The new investigating officer in the case, Deputy Superintendent Paresh Solanki, has written to the Chief Officer of Jhalod Municipality, seeking details of the functioning, finances and contracts awarded to various agencies and contractors between February 2018 and August 2020, a month before Patel’s alleged murder. Police is probing allegations that a high-stakes local election of the president and the vice-president of the municipality, held on August 25, was the trigger for the alleged contract killing.
In the letter, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Solanki has said the information is required in connection with the probe of Patel’s case, which has been registered under IPC Section 302 (culpable homicide amounting to murder).
The letter states, “Please furnish the true copies of all resolutions made in the General Board and the Executive board from February 2018 to August 2020. Please also furnish the grants received by the Jhalod Municipality during the same period… true copies of all proposals for planning of development works as per the government process as well as the relevant technical permissions, principal approvals, tender process and work orders… the records bills issued (by contractors) and the payments made by the municipality for the same.”
The statements of the newly elected president and vice-president as well as the members of the Congress, who cross-voted in the elections on August 25 were recorded to understand if the leaders received any threats as claimed by Patel’s family and supporters.
Local leaders say that about three months before the polls, three Congress councillors and one independent councillor went into hiding, allegedly at the insistence of Patel. Of the three councillors was Sonal Dindor, who became the president of the municipality unopposed in August. Dindor along with the two other party councillors rebelled and voted against the party mandate to support Nanda Vaghela to become the vice-president, who was backed by the BJP.
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