Hardik Patel was never abducted: Gujarat government to HC

Ahmedabad: Challenging Hardik Patel's abduction claims, the state government on Thursday told the Gujarat High Court that the Patel agitation spearhead's close aides were in constant touch with the young leader when he allegedly went missing last month.

After the state government filed its affidavit before the Gujarat High Court, division bench comprising justices M R Shah and K J Thaker directed Hardik's advocate to file an affidavit by October 19 to substantiate claims made in the petition about his alleged abduction by 'police-like persons'.

Hardik Patel was never abducted: Gujarat government to HCPatidaar Anamat Andolan Samiti Convener Hardik Patel leaves after apperaing in Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Pic/PTI

The High Court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by two aides of Hardik, when he allegedly went missing after the public meeting in Tenpur village of Bayad taluka of Aravali village on September 22.

"It was a sheer figment of imagination on the part of the petitioners to allege that corpus - Hardik Patel was ever abducted. In fact, he was never abducted by anybody, much less by police-like persons in plain clothes," said the affidavit filed by Sub inspector Y J Rathod of Ambaliyara police station of Aravali district on behalf of the state government.

"It is not true that the captioned petition had to be filed out of fear, since none of the companions were able to contact Hardik on September 22, 2015 as alleged or otherwise.

In fact, petitioners in particular and few others were in close and constant contact with Hardik Patel all throughout right from September 22, 2015 afternoon till about 11 am on September 23, 2015, when Hardik was alleged to have been released on highway somewhere near Surendranagar, it said.

"There was no question at all about the safety of Hardik as alleged or otherwise, more particularly, he himself on his own eloped, putting not only the entire administration, but also this court in a very awkward situation," it said.

All these were "deliberate and intentional acts on the part of the petitioners to create sensation at the cost of disturbing public peace and tranquility," said the affidavit.

After going through the state's affidavit, the High Court passed an order directing Hardik's advocate to file an affidavit substantiating their allegations that the 22-year-old was abducted.

"Prima facie we are not satisfied. So many things are required to substantiate your allegations. Petitioners want further time to file an affidavit explaining and substantiating the allegations on which this court considered to take the matter on September 22 at midnight and today we are giving one further opportunity (to file an affidavit)," the High Court said.

Hardik's advocate B M Mangukia sought time to file rejoinder on the state's affidavit.

Hardik, who is spearheading the Patel agitation for quota under OBC category, surfaced on September 23 after his mysterious disappearance for a day. Hardik had claimed that he was abducted by a person looking like a cop.

In the heabes corups plea, two aides of Hardik--Dinesh Patel and Ketan Patel-- had alleged that the young leader was illegally confined by the police. The Gujarat High Court after hearing the plea early morning on September 22 had asked the state government to find Hardik and respond the next day.

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