New Delhi: Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the withdrawal of a 1995 case against the chief minister himself for violating prohibitory orders. According to an Indian Express report, the state government has written to the district magistrate of Gorakhpur on December 20, directing that an application be filed in order to withdraw the said case before the court.
The case also involves Shiv Pratap Shukla, who is now the Minister of State for Finance, Sheetal Pandey, a BJP MLA from Sahajanwa and ten others, all of whom were booked for violating prohibitory orders.
According to the daily, the withdrawal order came a day before the Uttar Pradesh Criminal Law (Composition of Offences and Abatement of Trials) (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was tabled in the state assembly on December 21. The Bill was passed the next day. Chief minister Adityanath is himself a member of Uttar Pradesh’s legislative council.
Before the tabling of the Bill, the chief minister reportedly addressed the assembly saying that that 20,000 “politically-motivated” cases had been filed against him across the state for his “dharna pradarshan (demonstrations)“, and that the amendment to the said law would close all the cases, according to an India Today report.
The case against the now CM was lodged at the Pipiganj police station in the state’s Gorakhpur district on May 27, 1995, and had been pending in a local court. As per police station records, the case was filed under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) against Adityanath and 14 others for holding a meeting in Pipiganj town despite imposition of prohibitory orders by the district administration.
The court had earlier directed issuing of non-bailable warrants against all those named for non-appearance in court. However, B. D. Mishra, prosecution officer in Gorakhpur, told Indian Express that though non-bailable warrants were ordered against the accused around two years ago, they had never been issued.
Shukla, however, said that he “does not recall” the meeting. “The matter is 22 years old. I am not aware about any case or non-bailable warrant against me,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh government’s order stated that on the basis of an October 27 letter from the district magistrate and after having carefully examined the facts of the case, the state had decided to withdraw the case. According to Indian Express, the letter mentioned the names of Adityanath, Shukla, Pandey and ten others in the case.
“I have received the state government letter directing that a withdrawal application be filed in the court. The application sent by the state government has 13 names including Yogi Adityanath. We will move the withdrawal application in the court after the winter vacation,” Mishra confirmed to the Indian Express.
The Wire had earlier reported on the UP government’s thinly-veiled attempts at protecting Adityanath in a separate case involving charges of inciting and leading widespread anti-Muslim violence in Gorakhpur and nearby districts a decade ago. In May 2017, the state government had submitted before the Allahabad high court that it would not prosecute the CM in the case and had provided a 126-page document ‘counter affidavit’ which included a list of reasons in support of that decision.
Adityanath, on his part, has not denied the allegations made in the FIR filed in the case and had, in fact, in a televised interview in 2014 admitted to giving the anti-Muslim speech that according to the FIR, led to widespread violence and murders. The counter affidavit filed by the UP government in the Allahabad high court, however, refused to accept that as evidence.