Gujarat's junior Home Minister Amit Shah, who is close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was on Thursday summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, but he failed to appear and has been asked to show up on Friday for questioning.
It is for the first time that a state minister has been summoned in connection with the alleged fake encounter by Gujarat Police near Ahmedabad in which Sohrabuddin, an alleged gangster, was killed in November 2005.
The CBI issued a second summons to the minister of state for home to appear before it at the agency's office on Friday after he did not show up within the stipulated time of 1 pm on Thursday.
The investigating agency has the option of issuing a third and final summons before considering declaring Shah an absconder or issuing an arrest warrant.
"(Amit)Shah has been asked to appear before us today at CBI office in Gandhinagar," CBI IG P Kandaswamy told PTI.
The state government said it will cooperate with the process of law on the issue of summons to Shah.
"I have come to know about it (issue of summons) from the media. Whatever is the process of law one would follow it," government spokesman and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.
Shah has been recently skipping cabinet meetings, including the one held on Wednesday and not attending office.
The minister's absence from the cabinet meeting fuelled media speculation
The state BJP, meanwhile, lashed out at the Congress for "misuse" of CBI.
"The Congress is misusing the CBI against BJP-ruled states," BJP leader and MP Vijay Rupani said in Rajkot.
"Many encounters have taken place in several other states, but the party (Congress) is not keen on demanding CBI investigations in those cases," Rupani said.
In New Delhi, Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said there should not be any politics on the issue of probe in the Sohrabuddin case.
"The maxim that however high one may be, law is above you prevails," Tiwari said in New Delhi.
The CBI took over the investigations of the fake encounter and mysterious murder of his wife Kausar Bi in January this year on the direction of the Supreme Court.
The CBI arrested DCP Abhay Chudasama, the fourth IPS officer to be arrested in the fake encounter case.
Earlier, state CID investigating the case, had arrested D G Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandian, both IPS officers of Gujarat cadre and Dinesh M N, IPS from Rajasthan in the case along with 10 other policemen.
The CBI has also demanded from state CID to hand over documents related to Tulsi Prajapati encounter case, as they believe that Tulsi was a key witness in fake encounter of Soharabuddin.
However, state CID swinging into action has arrested IPS officer Vipul Agarawal and three others in the Tulsi Prajapati encounter case.