July 17, 2021 3:14:15 am
FORMER BJP MLA Jayrajsinh Jadeja and six others were on Friday acquitted by a trial court in a case of assault and rioting registered after supporters of Jadeja and his principal rival Gordhan Zadaphia clashed in Nagadka village of Gondal taluka of Rajkot district on December 13, 2012, hours after polling had ended for the Assembly election in 2012.
The court of Priya Dua, judicial magistrate (first class) of Gondal, acquitted Jayrajsinh and six others for want of evidence. Jayrajsinh and six others and a mob of around 50 unknown persons had been booked under IPC Sections 325 (punishment for causing grievous hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506(2) (criminal intimidation), 448 (house trespass), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).
The case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by Trusha Sakhiya, wife of Rajesh Sakhiya, a resident of Nagadka village and an RTI activist. While Jayrajsinh was contesting the 2012 election, seeking third term as an MLA from Gondal, Zadaphia, then with the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) was his principal rival.
Trusha had stated in his complaint that Jadeja and his supporters, including Ghela Dabhi of Nagadka village, had assaulted her husband Rajesh and two others for supporting the GPP candidates. On the other hand, Dabhi had also filed a complaint alleging Rajesh, five others and a mob of 15 other persons attacked him and fractured his leg. He had stated that the assailants also attacked Mayursinh Jhala and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, supporters of Jayrajsinh who had rushed to Nagadka from Gondal town after learning about the violence. Rajesh and others were also booked for similar offence.
“However, the honourable court acquitted Jayrajsinh and the six other accused for want of evidence. We drew the court’s attention that none of the injured had alleged that Jayrajsinh had caused their injuries and that the three accused had given contradictory accounts of the event. We also placed on record that police had reached the spot by the time Jayrajsinh reached the village and argued that it was a clash between villagers but the politician had been framed in the case merely because he was fighting election as a BJP candidate. The court concurred with our submission and gave the accused benefit of doubt,” Jayrajsinh’s advocate Narendrasinh Jhala said.
Jayrajsinh had eventually emerged victorious from Gondal Assembly constituency in 2012 Assembly election by defeating Zadaphia, the former home minister of Gujarat and BJP leader who had joined the GPP floated by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel. All the accused in the case registered on the basis of a cross complaint filed by Dabhi were also acquitted by the court on Friday for want of evidence.
As per direction of the Supreme Court to dispose of cases involving lawmakers, the case involving Jayrajsinh was heard on daily basis. With his acquittal in this assault and rioting case, the only criminal case pending against him is the 2004 murder of Nilesh Raiyani. The Gujarat High Court had convicted Jayrajsinh and his two aides in the Raiyani murder case in 2017 and sentenced them to life imprisonment. However, the three-time MLA has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against the verdict of the High Court and the matter is still pending. The politician is presently out on bail even as his wife Geetaba was elected MLA from Gondal seat as a BJP nominee in 2017 Assembly election.
Jayrajsinh could not be reached for a comment.
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