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Cong claims one of main accused is BJP member; saffron party refutes

Cong claims one of main accused is BJP member; saffron party refutes

New Delhi/Jaipur: The Congress on Saturday alleged that the main accused in the Kanhaiya Lal murder case in Udaipur was a member of the BJP, which dismissed the claim as "baseless'' and an attempt to deflect attention from the "failures" of Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan.

Referring to some media reports claiming a connection between accused Riyaz Attari and a BJP leader, Congress leader Pawan Khera said, "Riyaz's connections with the BJP were telecast by a channel yesterday (Friday), and compelling visuals of his attendance at BJP functions with senior party leaders are a smoking gun. These are not simply social occasions; several Facebook posts have described Riyaz as a member of the BJP's Rajasthan minorities' cell."

"What could be more evident than this? Riyaz Attari was present at events of BJP leaders. BJP leaders referred to him as 'bhai'. What is happening in this country?" Khera quipped.

"When the Centre ordered the NIA probe, we welcomed it. Our chief minister (Ashok Gehlot) assured assistance to the NIA. But now we are raising this question. Did the Centre order NIA probe hurriedly to hide this information about Riyaz Attari," Khera said.

Khera further alleged that through the posts of BJP leader Irshad Chainwala on Facebook on November 30, 2018, and Mohammad Tahir on February 3, 2019, October 27, 2019, August 10, 2021, November 28, 2019, and other posts, it is clear that Attari was not only "close to BJP leaders", but was also an active member of the BJP.

"It has also come to the fore in the same disclosure that the main accused Riyaz Attari often participated in the programmes of Rajasthan BJP leader and former minister Gulabchand Kataria," Khera alleged. Responding to a tweet by a Congress leader, the BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya said the accused were not BJP members and charged the opposition party with peddling fake news. "I am not surprised that you are peddling #FakeNews. The Udaipur murderers WERN'T members of the BJP. Their attempt to infiltrate was like the LTTE assassin's attempt to enter the Congress to kill Rajiv Gandhi," he tweeted. "Congress should stop fooling around with terror and national security," Malviya said.

He said the media report being cited did not conclude that the accused was a member of the BJP. Mohammad Sadiq Khan, Rajasthan president of the BJP Minority Morcha, also said the photos cannot be held as proof of Akhtari being a party member. "Anyone can have a photo with any leader. It does not mean that he is a member of the BJP," Khan said.

"He might have gone to some party programme to carry out a recce and got photos clicked with local leaders. Since it is a normal trend to upload photos with leaders or celebrities on Facebook and other social media platforms, he might have also uploaded the photo, but it does not mean that he is a BJP member," he said. Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad were arrested hours after the incident. Two more people were arrested later.

The four were on Saturday remanded in police custody till July 12.

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