Sedition charges dropped in Rajasthan Congress MLAs horse-trading case

The SOG registered the first FIR on July 10 under sections 124A and 120B of the IPC and arrested two accused in this regard.
Ashok Gehlot
Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot addresses a press conference in Jaipur, on May 1, 2019. (Photo: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANS)

Jaipur, Aug 5 : Scrapping the sedition charges clamped on Congress MLAs accused of alleged horse-trading to topple the state government in Rajasthan, the special operations group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police on Tuesday transferred the case to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Reacting to the development, Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia said “the intention of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the state government has now been exposed as it’s clear that they hatched a conspiracy against their own MLAs to intimidate the Independents and small party MLAs, in the name of SOG and ACB”.

An SOG official confirmed that the offence of MLAs does not fall under the category of Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and therefore, the case has been transferred to the ACB.

According to a statement issued by SOG, a legal opinion was taken in relation to the complaint filed on July 10, which confirmed that this case is not an offence under Section 124A of the IPC, officials said, adding: “Prima facie the crime comes under the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018. Therefore, all documents have been sent to ACB for further action.”

It needs to be mentioned here that rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot was also summoned under Sections 124 A (under sedition charges) and 120 B which left the former deputy Chief Minister aggrieved and tormented.

The SOG registered the first FIR on July 10 under sections 124A and 120B of the IPC and arrested two accused in this regard.

Thereafter, on July 17, on the complaint of the government chief whip Mahesh Joshi, two more FIRs were registered in similar sections.

On the same day, one Sanjay Jain, an agent allegedly mediating for horse-trading, was arrested and after being presented in the court, was taken into police remand.

The case is related to the alleged audio tapes which surfaced last month in which Sanjay Jain can be heard talking to Congress MLAs Bhanwarlal Sharma and Gajendra Singh planning to topple the government through horse-trading.

Poonia said: “We had said earlier that 124A is a case of treason, it was a law declared in 1870 during the British era which was imposed on Mahatma Gandhi by the British government and same law was imposed on freedom fighter Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak for writing articles in a magazine.

“How instability within the party can be put under the treason was questionable. The withdrawal of the sedition case makes it clear that the government was wrong and mistaken in this case. Withdrawing the sedition case is a moral defeat of the government. This has also exposed the conspiracy being carried out by the government. The government wanted to intimidate independents and small party legislators, in the name of SOG and ACB. It has been proved that the Chief Minister is using SOG, ACB, and Rajasthan Police as instruments to save his chair,” he added.

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