‘60% now, 40% later’: Audio tape on alleged buy-off for Hardik Patel aide

Prime News, National (Ahmedabad), October 26:- Next week, a court in Gujarat will hear the allegation that a top BJP leader, Jitu Vaghani, was among a group of five people who promised Narendra Patel a crore to join the party.

NDTV has accessed the audio tapes that Narendra Patel says he will be present in court on November 3 as proof.

NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the tapes.

The two voices heard are, according to the 47-year-old, his and that of Varun Patel. “60% now and 40% later,” he is told about the alleged kickback.

On Saturday, Varun Patel ended his association with 24-year-old Hardik Patel and joined the BJP. He then approached Narendra Patel, also a part of Hardik Patel’s team, with the alleged bribe.

Narendra Patel says he secretly recorded the phone conversation, which took place on Sunday morning, in a Trojan Horse sort of move to prove the BJP’s blatant subterfuge as it attempts to minimise the possible impact of Hardik Patel’s strident movement against the party ahead of the December election.

Hardik Patel says his mission is to ensure he ends the BJP’s two-decade-long run in Gujarat because it has failed to extend affirmative action policies to his Patidar or Patel community.

The BJP has denied any wrongdoing. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani when asked about the audio tapes today, told NDTV that Varun Patel will answer the allegations. Attempts to reach him today were unsuccessful. He has earlier in the week refuted serving as middleman.

On Sunday morning, Narendra Patel joined the BJP, just six hours after he allegedly recorded the conversation. That evening, he held a press conference with cash stacked on the table in front of him – 10 lakhs, he said, of a promised 1 crore deal with the BJP. He claims he was told that the balance would be paid after appearing the next day (Monday) with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at a public meeting in Ahmedabad.

On the audio tapes, Narendra Patel objects to being paid in installments, arguing, “but the deal was for (the) whole amount.” He is then reassured, “60 per cent today, 40 per cent tomorrow before the samellan (gathering)..the responsibility for the deal is mine.”

They then discuss how Narendra Patel will be presented at the press conference called to announce his induction into the BJP.

Hardik Patel has said that the exchange proves that the BJP will play dirty and buy its way out of what he predicts will be a close fight between the party and the opposition in Gujarat, which votes on December 9 and 14. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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