In a setback to the CBI,a Jaipur court on Wednesday discharged former minister and BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore in the Dara Singh fake counter case. Following the courts order,Rathore was released from the Jaipur Central Jail where he had been held in judicial custody since April 5.
Jaipur District and Sessions Judge P C Jain discharged Rathore as a conspirator from the case citing no prima facie evidence,no proof of motive,and unreliable witness statements.
Rathores advocate Hemant Natha told The Indian Express,The court accepted our argument that there was no motive in the case for Rathore to be a party to the alleged crime. He added that there was no evidence against Rathore in the CBIs supplementary chargesheet.
Following his release,Rathore slammed the Ashok Gehlot government stating that the CBI was being misused for political purposes. From the beginning I have maintained my innocence and today I have been vindicated. I have been fixed in this case and will start a campaign against this governments nefarious ways, he said.
The CBI is yet to decide on a future course of action. Special prosecutor Sarfaraz Khan said they would first have to peruse the 61-page judgment. We are waiting for a copy of the judgment after which we will decide on the next course of action, Khan said. The CBI can appeal to the Rajasthan High Court.
On October 23,2006,a team of the state Special Operations Group had gunned down Dara Singh in an encounter here. The police claimed they were trying to arrest Singh,when he fired at them and fled. After chasing Singh on foot,the police shot him near the Kamla Nagar flyover. The Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter of Singh following a petition filed by his wife,Sushila Devi,who claimed that her husband was killed in cold blood by the police.
Additional Director General of Police A K Jain,Inspector General of Police A Ponnuchami and 14 other police officials have been arrested in connection with the case. Advocates said that Rathores discharge in the case was significant,since the CBI in its chargesheet had mentioned liquor gang rivalry as the motive behind the encounter. According to the chargesheet,Rathore and Singh supported rival gangs and Rathore had got Singh killed after the latter threatened to murder him.
Meanwhile,the Rajasthan HC on Wednesday granted bail to Assistant Sub-Inspector Surender Singh and Constable Sardar Singh,who were accused in the case.