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Vaghani cross-examined in Gujarat HC in Ahmed Patel RS election case

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

Wednesday told the High Court that he did not know or could not recall the chain of events leading up to Ahmed Patel's victory in the August 2017 election from the state.

Vaghani, also an MLA, made the submission when he was cross-examined by Ahmed Patel's P S Champaneri in the court.

He is a witness in an election petition filed by BJP Balvantsinh Rajput, who has challenged Ahmed Patel's election to the from Rajput had narrowly lost the election.

During his cross-examination, Vaghani told the high court that he did not know about a BJP delegation visiting the (EC) in on the evening of the election in on August 8, 2017.

Vaghani said he had no idea about either the BJP or delegation approaching the EC in on the evening of the voting day.

The BJP said he cannot recall the chain of events that led to the votes of two then rebel MLAs getting cancelled, a development that helped Patel emerge victorious.

A delegation of Congress leaders had approached the EC in after the rejected the party's request to invalidate the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel.

This was followed by a BJP delegation meeting the EC with the request to reject the Congress' plea.

Delegation of both the parties visited the EC twice even as the counting was suspended awaiting its order. The EC eventually ordered invalidation of the two votes.

Asked by Patel's that if there was a TV set at the in Gandhinagar where the voting took place, Vaghani first replied in the negative.

He then said even if there was a TV set in the hall he could not recall if it was turned on.

Champaneri said developments related to the Rajya Sabha election were being telecast on TV that day.

Vaghani said between the time of voting and counting of ballots on August 8, 2017, he was mostly with

The said he cannot recall Congress MLA taking objection to Raghavji Patel showing his ballot paper to a BJP election agent, an action that invalidates a vote.

Vaghani said he cannot recall Parmar and senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohli, polling agent of Ahmed Patel, objecting to this on the election day.

He said Shaktisinh Gohil had tried to snatch the ballot paper of Raghavji Patel and claimed that the senior leader had even captured a booth during the 2007 assembly polls.

Rajput, a former Congress MLA, had quit the party to join the BJP ahead of the August 8 election.

He has accused of bribing MLAs to vote for him and requested the high court to quash the EC order invalidating the votes cast by the two rebel Congress MLAs.

Rajput has also prayed that votes of two other Congress MLAs be declared invalid.

The EC's decision to invalidate the votes of Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel had helped get 44 votes, the minimum he needed to win.

Rajput had polled 38 votes.

Rajput's petition claimed that once the returning used his discretion to accept the two votes as valid, the EC had "no power to issue any direction to the returning for accepting or rejecting any vote".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 23:00 IST