Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s national working president Pravin Togadia was found unconscious in Ahmedabad’s Shahibaug area, hours after he went ‘missing’.
Togadia, who is undergoing treatment for hypoglycemia at a hospital in Ahmedabad, was found to have low blood sugar levels. Director of Chandramani Hospital Roop Kumar Agarwal confirmed that Togadia was brought in an unconscious state and said that he was partially conscious and not coherent enough to give a statement, according to the report.
Togadia went missing on Monday morning. Investigation by the crime branch revealed that he was last seen at the VHP state headquarters in Paldi area of the city, where he was present since Sunday night. He left the office in an autorickshaw with a “bearded man” around 10.45 am on Monday, and thereafter became untraceable. Before leaving, Togadia told the security staff the he will be back within 30 minutes, PTI reported.
His party men alleged that Todadia had been taken away by Rajasthan Police, apparently in a conspiracy hatched by someone ‘higher up in the BJP to implicate him in an old murder case, according to IANS. An oncologist himself, Togadia reportedly went missing from the VHP headquarters in the Paldi area in Ahmedabad.
However, the mystery over Togadia’s disappearance deepened, with a senior police officer maintaining that neither the local Sola police nor the Rajasthan Police arrested him.
The police said that a contingent of Rajasthan Police had indeed come to arrest him under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC in an old case, but could not find him at his residence.
Meanwhile, around 50 VHP workers created a ruckus at a police station in Ahmedabad, alleging that the police, in connivance with their Rajasthan counterparts, had taken Togadia into custody in connection with a 10-year-old murder case. Angry VHP workers on Monday took to streets after reports said Togadia had been arrested and continued sit-ins even after a Gujarat police statement that he had gone “missing”.
Alleging that the Sola police helped the Rajasthan Police arrest the VHP’s international acting president from Paldi area in Ahmedabad, the workers demanded to know his whereabouts.
“We are pretty sure the Rajasthan Police has arrested our leader. They were in the state searching for Togadia in connection with the murder in Rajasthan that took place 10 years ago.
“We ask the Gujarat Police to tell us where he is if he has not been arrested,” said Raju Patel, the Ahmedabad city VHP general secretary. “We fear that Togadia might be killed by the police in a fake encounter.”
“The way Togadia has been speaking against the government on many issues… their poll promises, regarding Ram Mandir, many in the government do not like it and they want to silence him,” Patel added.
The VHP workers tried to block traffic on the busy Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway in western Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, the police in Ahmedabad maintained that the Rajasthan Police left the city without making any arrest.
“The Rajasthan Police had a search warrant for Togadia but no arrest was made. If the VHP workers allege that Togadia is missing, then we will look into that matter,” said Sola Police Station Inspector GS Patel.
On 5 January, Togadia also alleged a conspiracy had been hatched against him by a “higher up in the BJP” to implicate and jail him in a 1996 murder case by ensuring he did not get the summons issued against him. The Metropolitan Court on Friday cancelled a non-bailable warrant issued against Togadia, once a powerful figure in the Hindutva camp.
“The police did not make those summons available to me. I have received information that this was done purposefully by someone higher up, without the intervention of (state) Home Minister or Chief Minister.”
Togadia added: “Just like it happened during the Patidar agitation, when (then chief minister) Anandiben Patel said she did not order the lathicharge on agitators, this case is similar.
“(Deputy chief minister) Nitin Patel, (Chief Minister) Vijay Rupani wouldn’t do that. Why were the summons not made available to me despite my presence in Ahmedabad? Since some time I feel my voice is being gagged. I will later reveal who is behind it all,” he added.
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