Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil files fresh affidavit in Ahmed Patel's Rajya Sabha poll case

On Thursday, Justice Bela Trivedi had refused to accept Gohil's affidavit after an objection was raised by Rajput's counsel, Devang Vyas.

Published: 26th July 2019 10:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2019 10:20 PM   |  A+A-

Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil. | PTI File Photo

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Friday filed a fresh affidavit in the Gujarat High Court as a witness in connection with a petition filed by rival BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging Ahmed Patel's victory in the 2017 Rajya Sabha polls.

On Thursday, Justice Bela Trivedi had refused to accept Gohil's affidavit after an objection was raised by Rajput's counsel, Devang Vyas.

Vyas had told court the affidavit contains unnecessary material such as transcripts of some press conferences by Congress MLAs at Bengaluru as well as media reports about the poll.

After the HC accepted the fresh affidavit on Friday, Gohil, a key witness for Patel, was cross-examined by Vyas.

The cross-examination would continue on Wednesday.

When asked why six Congress MLAs cross voted in favour of Rajput, who contested against Patel, Gohil said only they could explain the reason behind their last-minute decision to support the BJP candidate.

Referring to a meeting of MLAs at Gujarat Congress headquarter on July 25, 2017, Gohil said he had attended the meeting.

He said during the meeting the then Legislative Party leader Mohansinh Rathva issued a whip asking Congress MLAs to vote for Patel in the polls, which were held on August 8, 2017.

Rajput, in his plea, had accused Patel of bribing Congress MLAs and challenged the Election Commission's decision to invalidate the votes of the two rebel MLAs.

Had these votes been counted, he would have defeated Patel, the BJP leader had contended.

Patel was declared the winner after the Election Commission invalidated the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohel and Raghavjee Patel, bringing down the number of votes needed for victory to 44 from 45.

In the election petition before the high court, Rajput also alleged that Patel had taken Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru before the election which amounted to "bribing the voters".

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