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No anticipatory bail to Rajesh Munat in Antagarh bypoll case

PTI raipur
Updated: 18-02-2019 23:52 IST
No anticipatory bail to Rajesh Munat in Antagarh bypoll case

A court in Chhattisgarh's Raipur district on Monday rejected an anticipatory bail application of former state BJP minister Rajesh Munat in a case related to alleged fixing of the 2014 Antagarh bypoll. Munat filed a pre-arrest bail application after the Raipur Police registered a case against him on February 3 based on a complaint by Congress leader Kiranmayee Nayak, Munat's lawyer Ramakant Mishra told PTI.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Vivek Kumar Verma dismissed the anticipatory bail plea, he added. Mishra said he contended in the court that the case dated back to 2014, and a plea seeking action in the case had been rejected twice by the high court in the past.

The FIR was registered four years after the alleged crime came to light, which shows it was done for a political vendetta after the change of regime, Mishra said. The BJP lost power to the Congress in Chhattisgarh in the recent elections.

Additional Advocate General and Special Public Prosecutor in the case Satish Chandra Verma, while opposing the plea, argued that the offence was very serious and there was evidence establishing Munat's alleged involvement. The judge observed that the case was at the stage of preliminary investigation and therefore, Munat was not entitled to anticipatory bail, Verma said.

Munat's lawyer said he will now move the Chhattisgarh High Court. The sessions court on February 7 had also rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh's son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta and BJP leader Manturam Pawar in the same case.

A case was registered at the Pandri police station on February 3 against Munat, Gupta, Pawar, former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi and his son Amit Jogi. The FIR was based on the complaint of Congress leader and former Raipur mayor Kiranmayee Nayak under IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 171F (undue influence at election).

In 2015-16, an audio CD came out which had conversations purportedly suggesting exchange of money to make Manturam Pawar, Congress candidate in the 2014 Antagarh Assembly bypoll in Kanker district, withdraw at the last minute to facilitate the BJP candidate's victory. The bypoll was won by BJP's Bhojraj Nag.

Pawar, who had pulled out a day before the last date for withdrawal, was subsequently expelled from the Congress. The audio tape suggested that his withdrawal was at the behest of the BJP and facilitated by Ajit Jogi.