Karnataka U-turn In Uma Case

Bangalore, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2004, 05:30am hrs
In a surprise U-turn, the Karnataka government on Monday told the high court that it stood by a 2002 cabinet decision dropping charges against former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti. The government had sought reopening the rioting case against Ms Bharti last May in a Hubli court.

Advocate general BT Parthasarathy said, There is no political vendetta against her.

The governments change of stand comes just two days before BJP leader LK Advanis satyagraha to demand dropping of cases against Ms Bharti. All its national leaders, including AB Vajpayee, were to join the protest.

The high court bench said: It is necessary to direct the court concerned (JMFC, Hubli) to consider the application of withdrawal after instructions from the APP in the interest of justice and pass appropriate orders.

It also observed that Ms Bharti was free to approach the high court seeking bail as also the quashing of proceedings against her. Justice Jain said as the matter was subjudice the court cannot issue directions on the PIL and dismissed it.

On August 3, the JMFC had declared Ms Bharti and others proclaimed offenders and gave orders to attach their properties to force their physical appearance. But in a surprise turnaround, the Dharam Singh government has filed a revision petition against the order.