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U'khand CM Trivendra Rawat Moves Supreme Court Against High Court Order Directing CBI Probe Into Corruption Allegations Against Him

Sparsh Upadhyay
28 Oct 2020 1:53 PM GMT
Ukhand CM Trivendra Rawat Moves Supreme Court Against High Court Order Directing CBI Probe Into Corruption Allegations Against Him
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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has moved Supreme Court challenging the Tuesday's (27th October) Judgment of Uttarakhand High Court which directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file an FIR and investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against Uttarakhand's Sitting Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat by a journalist.(Umesh Sharma).As reported by PTI,...

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has moved Supreme Court challenging the Tuesday's (27th October) Judgment of Uttarakhand High Court which directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file an FIR and investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against Uttarakhand's Sitting Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat by a journalist.(Umesh Sharma).

As reported by PTI, Rawat has moved the top court by filing an appeal against the high court judgement through lawyer Divyam Agarwal, who has not yet divulged the grounds of the challenge.

It may be noted that the Bench of Justice Ravindra Maithani gave this Judgment in the matter wherein one Umesh Sharma (the owner of the local News Channel 'Samachar plus') had made a video (in July 2020) related to Rawat's alleged role of getting money transferred to accounts of his relatives in the year 2016 (as BJP's Jharkhand in-charge) to back the appointment of a person (AS Chauhan) in Jharkhand to head the Gau Seva Ayog.

Apart from this, the Court had also allowed the plea filed by Journalist Umesh Sharma (who owns local News Channel 'Samachar Plus') to quash an FIR filed against him in July 2020 for publishing a video levelling corruption allegations against TSRCM (Trivendra Singh Rawat Chief Minister).

In fact, the Journalist had made a video related to Rawat's alleged role of getting money transferred to the accounts of his relatives in the year 2016 (when he was BJP's Jharkhand in-charge) to back the appointment of a person (AS Chauhan) in Jharkhand to head the Gau Seva Ayog.

It was alleged that one Amritesh Chauhan from Jharkhand had deposited money after demonetisation into the bank account of Harendra Singh Rawat and his wife Savita Rawat for the personal benefit of TSRCM.

The allegations against the petitioner were two folds that he gave a false statement that any amount was deposited, in the account of the informant (Harendra Singh Rawat) and his family members etc., and he gave another false statement that the wife (Savita Rawat) of the informant (Harendra Singh Rawat) is the real elder sister of the wife of TSRCM.

Pursuant to this, the FIR [No. 265 of 2020] was registered on the request of Harendra Singh Rawat (Informant) and Umesh Sharma (Petitioner) was booked for cheating, forgery, conspiracy and allied offences.

Court's order quashing the FIR and Ordering CBI Probe

The Court noted that it was cautious that "at this stage, in the instant proceeding, a deeper analysis of any material is not to be made. What is being argued is that no prima-facie case is made out against the petitioner".

The Court, after analysing the facts and circumstances of the case, came to the conclusion that prima facie offences were not made out against Sharma.

The Court also said,

"If allegations are levelled against the representatives, it alone cannot be sedition. Criticizing the government can never be sedition. Unless the public functionaries are criticized, democracy cannot be strengthened."

It was emphasized by the Court that in a democracy dissent is always respected and considered, if it is suppressed under sedition laws perhaps, it would be an attempt to make the democracy weak.

"Adding Section 124-A IPC in the instant case manifests that it has been an attempt of the State, to muzzle the voice of criticism, to muffle complaint/ dissent", noted the Court.

Consequently, the High Court quashed the FIR against the Journalist.

It may be noted that while ordering for a CBI Probe into the matter, the Court was of the view that.

"Considering the nature of allegations levelled against Trivendra Singh Rawat, the Chief Minister of the State, it would be appropriate to unfold the truth. It would be in the interest of the State that the doubts are cleared."

Therefore, while allowing the petition to quash FIR, the Court proposed for investigation also.

In view of the nature of the allegations, the Court was of the view that the CBI should be directed to lodge an FIR on the basis of allegations levelled in the instant petition and investigate the case in accordance with the law.

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