On his unconditional apology, he said, “It was clear that the state wanted to drag the matter and I did not want that. It was bound to affect my career, so the public prosecutor offered me an apology and I left the country.”
Sohini Ghosh/Vaibhav Jha.
Even though elections in BJP-ruled Gujarat are to be held next year, CM Vijay Rupani resigned from his post on Saturday (September 11, 2021) almost a year and a half ago. However, his departure was already feared by a journalist. He had said that Rupani might have to leave. He had said this through an article, but due to this, a case of sedition was filed against him and he had to remain in judicial custody for 14 days. He was later released after removing the article and apologizing.
This thing is around May 2020. There was the first wave of corona virus in the country then. Meanwhile, Dhaval Patel, editor of Gujarati news web portal “Face of Nation”, had written an article talking about a possible change of leadership in the state. As a result Patel was charged with sedition and spent 14 days in judicial custody before being granted bail. Patel, who left India after the FIR was quashed, on Saturday termed Rupani’s resignation as a “confirmation” of his report.
The article was removed after posting, while the FIR was quashed in November last year. Patel then submitted an “unconditional apology” in the Gujarat High Court. While quashing the FIR lodged by a police sub-inspector, the court had cautioned Patel that “whenever he publishes any article in future, such remarks will not be used against any constitutional functionary without verification and He will be wary of repeating it (remarks on Rupani).”
Patel told on Saturday that he had gone abroad in December 2020. On his unconditional apology, he said, “It was clear that the state wanted to drag the matter and I did not want that. It was bound to affect my career, so the public prosecutor offered me an apology and I left the country.”
On his story, Patel said, “I reported on the basis of confirmation from reliable sources and cross-verification of the same. The sedition case was also a way of pressurizing journalists in view of the COVID-19 context at that time. Patel continued to write for Face of Nation and his last article was on 4 September.
He wrote an article about Rupani’s replacement on May 7, 2020 and it was titled ‘Mansukh Mandaviya called by high command, chances of leadership change in Gujarat’. Mansukh Mandaviya, a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, was then Union Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers. (He was promoted as the Union Health Minister in the recent reshuffle).