Apex court halts prosecution of five BJP leaders in riot caseDecember 19th, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday halted the prosecution of five Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including MP Yogi Adityanath, for his alleged role in instigating communal riots in Gorakhpur and its adjoining district in eastern Uttar Pradesh in January 2007.A bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice H.S. Bedi also stopped the prosecution of BJP legislators Radha Mohan Das Agrawal and Y.D. Singh, along with that of former state minister Shiv Pratap Shukla and Gorakhpur Mayor Anju Chaudhary.
The bench halted the prosecution of the five BJP leaders and 1,000 other unnamed party workers on a lawsuit by the Gorakhpur mayor challenging the Allahabad High Court order that had ordered registration of criminal cases against them Sep 26 this year.
The apex court bench also issued notice to the state government and self-styled social activist Parvez Parvaz on whose plea the high court had ordered registration of the case against the five BJP leaders.
Appearing for the Gorakhpur Mayor, former Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohtagi argued that the high court had ordered filing of criminal cases without giving them an opportunity to have their say.
Mayor Chaudhary, in her petition to the apex court, said Parvez had approached the high court after Gorakhpur chief judicial magistrate (CJM) dismissed his plea on July 29 this year.
In his plea, Pervez had alleged that the leaders had instigated the riot, which continued for over a fortnight in the eastern Uttar Pradesh districts and claimed over 10 lives.
As Parvez moved the CJM’s court for prosecution of Adityanath and the other BJP leaders for instigating the riots, the CJM called for the report from the police on the various incidents of riots, arson and carnage.
The police, in turn, told the magisterial court that each of the incidents for which Parvez wanted registration of a fresh criminal case has already been mentioned in the First Information Reports lodged by the police in several police stations in the immediate aftermath of the riots.
The police assured the magisterial court that it was probing all the cases and taking requisite legal action.
At this the Gorakhpur magisterial court dismissed Parvez’s plea, which he had filed in November 2007, several months after the riots had taken place.
Parvez then moved the high court and got its direction to the Gorakhpur Cantt Police Station for registration of an FIR on his complaint.
The police lodged an FIR against the five BJP leaders and party workers in November 2008, accusing them of instigating the riots leading to commission of crimes, including loot, arson, dacoity and murder.
The state government entrusted the probe against the five BJP leaders to the state’s special police team.
The apex court bench, however, halted all criminal proceedings against the BJP leaders.