Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun | October 28, 2020 2:15:11 am
Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat. (File Photo)
The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday ordered for a CBI probe into allegations made by a journalist in a video, accusing Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, BJP’s then Jharkhand in-charge, of allegedly getting money transferred to accounts of relatives in 2016 to back the appointment of a person in Jharkhand to head the Gau Seva Ayog.
Justice Ravindra Maithani also ordered quashing of the FIR against the journalist, Umesh Kumar Sharma.
The state government will move the Supreme Court with a Special Leave Petition challenging the order, Darshan Singh Rawat, media coordinator of the CM, said. “The government respects the High Court order. Facts will be cleared in the inquiry,” he said.
BJP state president Bansi Dhar Bhagat said, “I am not aware of the matter, but certainly the High Court order will be followed.”
The HC ordered the CBI probe in the hearing of separate writ petitions (criminal) filed by two journalists – Sharma and Shiv Prasad Semwal – who had sought quashing of an FIR lodged in July this year at Nehru Colony police station of Dehradun under different IPC sections.
The FIR was lodged after a retired professor, Harinder Singh Rawat, manager of a college in Dehradun, approached the police with a complaint against a video Umesh had uploaded on Facebook in June. As per the complaint, Umesh had alleged that Harinder’s wife Savita Rawat, an associate professor, is sister of CM Rawat’s wife, and that during demonetisation in 2016 a man named Amratesh Singh Chauhan had deposited money in different bank accounts – belonging to him and his wife.
Harinder stated in his complaint that Umesh alleged that the money was paid as bribe to Rawat to get Chauhan appointed chairperson the gau seva panel.
Harinder rejected allegations that his family is related to the CM, and stated in the complaint that Umesh, in his video, showed fabricated documents relating to cash deposits in bank accounts.
The police had lodged the FIR following an inquiry. Semwal’s news portal, Parvatjan, and another journalist Rajesh Sharma’s media outlet, Crime Story, were also named in the FIR.
Hearing the petition, Justice Maithani stated, “…this court can, within the scope of jurisdiction under Article 226, order for investigation into allegations levelled by the petitioner in para 8 of the petition. This court is of the view that considering the nature of allegations levelled against Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of the State, it would be appropriate to unfold the truth.”
It held, “It would be in the interest of the State that the doubts are cleared. Therefore, while allowing the petition, this court proposes for investigation also.”
The court also stated, “The allegations as levelled in the instant FIR do not make out any prima facie case against the petitioners.” It observed that the communication dated July 7, the subsequent inquiry and lodging of the FIR and other activities that followed were actuated by mala fide.
The court directed CBI SP in Dehradun to register an FIR on the basis of allegations levelled in para 8 of the petition and investigate.
The petitioner, Umesh Sharma, said that para 8 refers to allegations of an alleged deal between Amratesh Chauhan and Trivendra Rawat, and also has details of bank accounts of the CM’s relatives in which money was allegedly transferred. He said, “I stand by the allegation I made. Amratesh was not appointed Gau Seva Ayog chairman and he shared details of the deals with me…”
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