Rajasthan: SOG withdraws sedition charge, transfers cases to ACB

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Updated: Aug 05, 2020 10:24 AM

The Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police said sedition charges are being dropped from all three FIRs and they are being transferred to ACB.

rajasthan government crisis, ashok gehlot SOG of Rajasthan Police drops sedition charge, transfers case to ACB. (File pic of CM Ashok Gehlot)

In a significant development, the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police has withdrawn the sedition charge it had slapped in connection with an alleged bid to topple the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot. According to a report in The Indian Express, the SOG has withdrawn the charge from the three FIRs it had lodged last month.

Also, the SOG has transferred the cases to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the IE report said.

The SOG on Tuesday told the Rajasthan High Court bench of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma that it is dropping sedition charges and transferring rebel MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma’s case to the ACB. Sharma, an MLA from Sardarshahar, had filed a plea in the HC seeking quashing of the FIR against him or transfer to the NIA.

The SOG in a lower court on Tuesday said that “based on the investigation conducted so far, no offence under IPC 124A has been found” and investigation under The Prevention of Corruption Act is active. Sanjay Jain, one of the accused named in the FIR along with Sharma, has filed a bail plea in a lower court. Jain was arrested by the SOG earlier for his role in a bid to pull down the Gehlot government.

“Hence, the files and the case are being transferred to the ACB,” the SOG told the court.

In a statement, SOG said “sedition charges are being dropped from all three FIRs and they are being transferred to ACB”.

The development comes just a few days ahead of the Assembly session. Governor Kalraj Mishra has convened a session from August 14. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has dropped hints that he will seek a trust vote. Just recently, Gehlot has made a conciliatory move, saying that he will welcome back the rebel Congress MLAs led by Sachin Pilot if the party leadership ‘forgives them’.

Pilot and 18 Congress MLAs have fallen out with the Gehlot government after Pilot was served a notice by the SOG. The rebels are currently staying at a resort in Gurugram. The SOG had asked Pilot to record statements in connection with an alleged bid to topple the Ashok Gehlot government. Pilot was later sacked as deputy CM and Congress’ Rajasthan unit president.

The FIRs were filed by SOG under the sedition charge. While it did not name Pilot, it was aimed as targeting him.

The IE report said that the SOG’s move to drop the sedition charge was aimed at preventing NIA from taking over the cases.

The SOG had filed two FIRs on July 17 after Congress chief whippp Mahesh Joshi filed complaints. Both were lodged under IPC sections 124A (sedition) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy). The SOG on July 10 lodged another FIR under the same IPC sections.

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