The Allahabad High Court granted a stay on Tuesday on the arrest of Union Minister for Small Scale Industries
Mahabir Prasad,whose name figured in an FIR lodged on February 10 in connection with the murder of one Ram Pragat,a resident of Ujjarpar village.
The Division Bench of Justices Shiv Charan and V K Verma asked the state to file an affidavit after three weeks.
An FIR was lodged against Prasad at Gagaha police station in Gorakhpur district on February 10 in connection with the case.
Taking note of the clean image of the accused and the fact that his name was not there in the first FIR in the case,and in the absence of direct charges of murder against him,the court granted the stay as it saw no immediate reason to arrest him, said government counsel D R Chaudhery.
Prasads counsel Jagdish Singh Sengar argued the minister was not named in the first FIR lodged on January 29,2008 at Gagaha police station under Sections 279,304-A of the IPC dealing with death due to negligence.
The chargesheet in the first FIR was submitted on March 5,2008,but the respondent,Subhawati,Pragats wife,did not raise any objection against the FIR.
On March 29,2008,after allegedly being goaded by Sri Nath the BSP candidate from Bansgaon Lok Sabha seat from where Prasad is a sitting MP Subhawati moved an application in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM).
She alleged that Prasad and others had been threatening her and were putting pressure on the police to hush up the matter. This was rejected by the court on April 19,2008.
Subhawatis revision petition against the CJM order was rejected by additional district judge on July 20,2008. Sengar alleged of political interference against his client. He added even the recent FIR did not make Prasad a direct accused in the case.
However,Subhawatis counsel Manoj Kumar Pandey pleaded that the FIR lodged on February 10 clearly indicated that Prasad had been trying to hush up the matter.
This was done through issuing threats and offering Rs 2 lakh,a job for Subhawatis son Ghanshyam and also putting pressure on the local police not to entertain the case. Pandey added the accused may also try to influence the investigation if was free,as he had done previously at the time of the incident.
The court,however,granted Prasad immediate relief.
The bench of Justices Amar Saran and R N Mishra,which had heard the case on Monday and asked the counsels of both the parties to continue the argument on Tuesday,refused to hear the case as soon as the court opened for the day.
Previously,the Division Bench of Justices Shushil Harkauli and Poonam Srivastava,where Prasads stay application was originally filed,had declined to hear the case.
Prasad had moved for stay on his arrest on February 12 in the HC,alleging that the BSP government in UP wanted to malign his clean image to blackmail him.