More than two months after the Madhya Pradesh government invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against an Ujjain trader for selling adulterated ghee, the Union Home Ministry has revoked his detention, prompting the Congress state government to accuse the BJP of using its influence to secure the release of a “habitual offender”.
The Ujjain administration had slapped NSA on Kirtivardhan Kelkar (41) after more than 100 bottles of chemicals and 450 liters of hydrogenated oil were recovered from his unit in Bahadurganj locality during a raid on July 30. Kelkar was sent to jail after the Ujjain District Magistrate passed the order on July 31.
In mid-July, the Congress government launched the ‘Shuddha Ke Liye Yudha’ (war for purity) programme, under which 89 FIRs have been lodged against various people for adulterated food items. Kelkar was the first to be detained under the NSA, and the stringent provisions of the Act were invoked against a subsequent 30 people.
However, the Union Home Ministry, using powers under Section 14 of the NSA, directed the MP Home Secretary to release Kelkar forthwith “unless he is required to be kept in jail in connection with some other case”.
The order dated October 10, which was also copied to the Ujjain District Magistrate and Jail Superintendent, Indore, said Kelkar may be tried in the cases registered under the normal law of the land, and his activities may be kept under discreet watch. The order asked the state authorities to inform the Central government of compliance with the order.
On Tuesday, Congress leaders Shobha Oza and Abhay Dubey said Kelkar was a habitual offender and had been booked for a similar offence in 2015 and penalised in July 2016. Dubey alleged that Kelkar was associated with the BJP, and that a senior RSS leader and the BJP had used its connections to secure his release.
However, the BJP alleged under the guise of a crackdown against adulteration, the Congress government was targeting some people associated with the saffron party.
BJP spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya said the Congress government can challenge the order in court, but it was not proper to bring politics in legal matters. He said the NSA was not meant for adulteration, and therefore, the Union ministry must have found the detention in violation of law.
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