Relief for Uttarakhand CM: Apex court stays HC’s order on lodging FIR against Rawat

The CBI probe against CM Rawat was ordered on the basis of a video, which accuses Rawat of getting money into accounts of his relatives to back the appointment of a person in Jharkhand to head the Gau Seva Ayog

Attorney General K K Venugopal, speaking on behalf of Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat (in pic), contended that an FIR cannot be lodged without hearing the party, who is the chief minister in this case.

In a relief to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, the Supreme Court Thursday stayed the High Court’s order on lodging an FIR against him on alleged corruption charges, news agency PTI reported.

On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand high court had ordered a CBI probe against CM Rawat on the basis of a journalist video, which accuses Rawat of getting money transferred to accounts of relatives in 2016 to back the appointment of a person in Jharkhand to head the Gau Seva Ayog. Rawat was then Jharkhand in-charge of BJP.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, speaking on behalf of Rawat, told the Supreme Court that the high court had not heard his counsel before ordering a CBI probe. Venugopal contended that an FIR cannot be lodged without hearing the party, who is the chief minister in this case. Such a move can unsettle the elected government, said Venugopal.

On Tuesday, the high court was hearing separate writ petitions (criminal) filed by two journalists – Umesh Kumar Sharma and Shiv Prasad Semwal – who had sought quashing of an FIR lodged against them in July this year at Nehru Colony police station of Dehradun under different sections of the IPC.

Also read: CBI probe in Hathras case to be monitored by Allahabad HC, says SC

The FIR was lodged on the basis of a police complaint lodged by one Harinder Singh Rawat — a retired professor and manager of a college in Dehradun. Harinder said in his complaint that Umesh had uploaded a video on Facebook in June. As per the video, Umesh had accused his (Harinder’s) wife Savita Rawat, an associate professor and sister of CM Rawat’s wife, of accepting deposits in different bank accounts from a man named Amratesh Singh Chauhan during demonetisation in 2016.

Harinder stated in his complaint that Umesh alleged that the money was paid as bribe to Rawat to get Chauhan appointed chairperson of the gau seva panel.

Harinder has rejected the charge that his family has any relationship with the CM and accused Umesh Sharma of fabricating documents relating to cash deposits in bank accounts.

While ordering a CBI probe into allegations against the CM, the HC bench of Justice Ravindra Maithani had on Tuesday also ordered quashing of the FIR against the journalist, Umesh Kumar Sharma.

Congress, which is in the opposition, has demanded Rawat’s resignation. The ruling BJP called the High Court judgment “bad in law”.

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