In a setback to Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, his key aide and co-accused in a sedition case Ketan Patel has turned approver. Following an application moved by the investigating officer from the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), Ahmedabad, a sessions court on Friday pardoned Ketan from facing the trial as an accused.
This is one of two two sedition cases filed against Hardik and his key associates, including Dinesh Bambhaniya and Chirag Patel. The other sedition case was lodged in Surat. These cases were lodged in 2015 following violent protests in various parts of the state by PAAS and its supporters at the height of the quota agitation.
Investigating officer J S Gedam had moved an application before the sessions court last month, stating that Ketan Patel on his own was “ready to disclose the whole truth”, and therefore he be pardoned. Earlier, Ketan had written a letter to Gedam, seeking to become an approver in the case.
The prosecution while arguing to pardon Ketan, noted that there was a provision under The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Section 307 and if he was pardoned “the whole truth” would be out, and also “there will be a direct evidence against the accused”.
DCB officials said that Ketan Patel has already recorded his statement under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate.
In 2015, the DCB had lodged a FIR against Hardik and his associates following the violence in August that year based on purported transcripts of phone call records in which the accused were heard talking about “burning Gujarat in an hour” among others.
The DCB had filed chargesheet last year in the court where it is pending at the stage of framing charges against the accused.