The Pioneer

Following the conviction of cabinet minister Rakesh Sachan in an over 30-year-old case and issuance of non-bailable warrant against another cabinet minister Sanjay Nishad by the chief judicial magistrate of Gorakhpur, the state government is likely to withdraw the pending cases against the ministers and the ruling party MLAs.

A senior minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, however, said there was no proposal to withdraw the cases under serious charges of crime pending against the ministers and MLAs. The minister said information was being collected from districts and the process of withdrawal of cases was underway.

The minister said, “Rakesh Sachan is the first minister to be convicted in a criminal case under the Arms Act. He was granted bail by the court and also allowed to file an appeal in the High Court.”

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership, after considering all the aspects, had decided to retain Rakesh Sachan in the cabinet. The minister added, “All the cases registered against the ministers and MLAs during the previous regime due to political vendetta would soon be withdrawn.”

According to UP election watchdog, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), analysis of affidavits submitted by 45 politicians who were sworn in as ministers in Uttar Pradesh showed that nearly half had declared criminal cases against themselves and most of them face serious charges.

According to the ADR report, 22 (49 per cent) ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves and 20 (44 per cent) ministers have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

The ADR defines serious criminal cases as offences for which maximum punishment is five years or more, are non-bailable or an electoral offence. Offences like assault, murder, kidnap, rape, those under the Prevention of Corruption Act and crimes against women are also defined as “serious criminal cases”.

Out of 403 MLAs in UP Assembly, 205 (51 per cent) face criminal charges. The ministers in Yogi Adityanath government facing criminal charges are Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandi’, Dharmpal Singh, Anil Rajbhar, Dayashankar Singh, Yogendra Upadhaya, Bhupendra Chowdhary, Kapil Dev Agarwal, Girish Chandra Yadav, Ravindra Jaisawal, Dinesh Khatik, Suresh Rahi, Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh, Ravindra Jaiswal and Brijesh Singh.

Besides the ministers, old cases are pending against over two dozen MLAs.

 A minister in the Yogi Adityanath government said most of the cases against the ministers and MLAs were registered when they participated in political agitation and staged demonstrations.

“There is nothing wrong in withdrawal of these cases as they were filed out of political vendetta. Nothing new is being done by the Yogi Adityanath government as cases were withdrawn during the previous Samajwadi Party and bahujan samaj party governments,” said a minister.

Citing the previous instances, the minister said, “During the government led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, cases against then Samajwadi Party MP Raj Babbar were withdrawn and during the Akhilesh Yadav government cases against Mohammad Azam Khan and Raja Bhaiya were withdrawn.

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