February 7, 2017 5:44:31 am
RETIRED MAJOR Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, is likely to visit his native place Ballia to contest the upcoming Assembly elections from Bairia seat as an Independent candidate. A Mumbai court had on Saturday granted three weeks’ interim relief to Upadhyay — who is lodged in the city’s Taloja Central Jail — to contest and campaign.
A resident of Ramnagar village in Ballia, Upadhyay had contested the 2012 Assembly elections from prison on an Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha ticket from the same seat. He had secured 12th position with 618 votes. The seat was won by Jai Prakash Anchal of Samajwadi Party.
“In 2012 Assembly elections, I was moving in the area as a representative of my father and seeking votes for him. This time, father will directly interact with voters and ask them to vote for him,” said Upadhyay’s son Vishal, a businessman in Pune.
Upadhyay had moved court in January seeking permission to contest polls and travel.
Avinash Rasal, government counsel, Mumbai, said, “The NIA court in Mumbai had in January granted Upadhyay permission to contest election. On Saturday (February 4), the court granted three weeks’ interim relief to him to visit and campaign. The court had also set some conditions, including bearing the cost of the escort team which would attach with Upadhyay.”
“When he wants to take three weeks’ relief would be the decision of the applicant,” he added.
Vishal said he was in touch with the Mumbai police commissioner to sort out the cost of the escort team. “Once the matter gets settled, we will apply for three weeks’ relief. My father will stay at his ancestral house in Ramnagar village and from there he will run the campaign and also supervise it. My relatives living in Ramnagar village will also join in canvassing with my father,” he added.
The filing of nomination forms for Bairia seat will start from February 7 and the last date is February 14. The Bahujan Samaj Party has declared Jawahar Prasad Verma as its candidate for the same seat, while Samajwadi Party has fielded Jai Prakash Achal. Vishal said he is also in talks with the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Sabha for a ticket.
According to Vishal, his father used to visit his native place once a year. He had not visited since after his arrest in 2008.
In October 2008, Upadhyay was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts, which had claimed six lives and left over 100 injured on September 29, 2008. He was accused of conspiring with prime accused Lt. Col. S P Purohit, who is also lodged in jail.