An arrest warrant has been issued against Lal Singh Arya, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Narmada Valley Development and General Administration, in connection with the murder of a Congress MLA in 2009. Gohad MLA Makhanlal Jatav was shot dead on April 13, 2009, in Chharate village. The Congress called it a political murder and blamed it on Arya, who had lost the 2008 Assembly poll to Jatav.
The matter was first investigated by the local police and later by the CBI. However, Arya was not named as an accused in the chargesheet.
During the trial at the Special Court (SC/ST) in Bhind, Jatav’s son filed an application under Section 319 of the CrPC (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence). Considering this application, Special Judge Yogesh Gupta ordered that Arya be named as an accused and issued the arrest warrant against him. Three eyewitnesses had also given statements under Section 161 of CrPC.
It was argued on behalf of the minister that neither the police nor the CBI had found any evidence against him and that he was not named an accused earlier. The court, however, stayed the operation of the warrant till June 3 to allow Arya to file a revision application.
While the minister was not available for comment, the Congress sought his resignation.
State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chouhan said there was no need for Arya to resign because he had done nothing wrong. He said the special court had issued the arrest warrant without issuing any summons to him. The minister will move the high court, he added.
Jatav was shot in Chharate while he was returning after campaigning for Congress candidate Bhagirath Prasad. The MLA was seated in front of a vehicle and speaking to villagers when he was shot in the head. The Opposition party had paraded the body from Gwalior to Bhind.