The CBI arrested BJP chief whip and former Rajasthan minister Rajendra Singh Rathore in Jaipur on Thursday in connection with the alleged fake encounter of liquor smuggler Dara Singh. Even as the BJP announced statewide protests against the arrest,the CBI filed its chargesheet against Rathore,charging him with murder,abduction and conspiracy.
Special prosecutor Sarfraz Hyder Khan,who appeared for the CBI,said Rathore was produced before a CBI court which remanded him in judicial custody until April 9. Said Khan: In the first chargesheet filed last year,Rathore was not named as an accused since further investigation was required.
In its chargesheet,the CBI stated that Rathore and Dara Singh supported rival liquor smuggling gangs in Churu district,and the latter had threatened to kill the MLA if he did not stop supporting his rival.
Rathores arrest comes two months after additional director general of police A K Jain surrendered before a CBI court in late January,after remaining underground since June last year.
Jain,inspector general of police A Ponnuchami,additional superintendent of police Arshad Ali and 14 other police officials are accused in the encounter case.
Senior CBI officials said they had accumulated more evidence against Rathore after questioning Jain,which prompted the filing of the chargesheet against him today. We have mentioned his role in the incident in the preliminary chargesheet and have now gathered more evidence against him, said a senior CBI official.
A BJP MLA from Taranagar in Churu district,Rathore is considered to be close to former CM and Leader of the Opposition Vasundhara Raje. The BJP today alleged that the Congress government was targeting Rathore to settle scores. On directions from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot,the CBI has falsely implicated Rathore in this case, said Raje.
The case dates back to October 23,2006,when a team of the state Special Operations Group reportedly gunned down Dara Singh in Jaipur. The police claimed the liquor smuggler had fired at them when they were trying to arrest him. The Supreme Court ordered a CBI investigation into the incident following a petition filed by Singhs wife Sushila Devi.