BHOPAL: A special CBI court in Bhind on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant against minister for general administration Lal Singh Arya, who is a co-accused in Congress MLA Makhan Lal Jatav’s murder in April 2009, just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The special court of Justice Yogesh Kumar Gupta had issued bailable warrants on Arya six times, but the minister did not appear in court. When police submitted in court that they are unable to serve the bailable warrant, an arrest warrant was issued against Arya. The minister is fast running out of options. On November 14, the Gwalior bench of MP high court had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, observing that “evidence in the considered opinion of this court is good enough to fall within the category of more than strong suspicion”.
The Congress promptly called on Governor O P Kohli to expel Arya from the cabinet. Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh said, “The court issued warrant six times yet the chief minister continues to overlook it. With the court issuing an arrest warrant against the minister, Arya has no right to remain in his chair. If the CM does not act, then the Governor should sack Arya.”
Arya had earlier moved an interim bail plea before the special court in Bhind, which was dismissed, as was his appeal in high court. Interestingly, CBI had cleared Arya of all charges on April 27 this year, but the counsel for Jatav’s kin filed a petition, demanding he be made an accused. After hearing the arguments, special judge included his name among the accused.
State Congress chief spokesman K K Mishra accused the state government of ignoring repeated warrants from a court. “If the executive starts to override the judiciary, it is not just wrong but dangerous for a democracy,” Mishra said, pointing out how former CM Digvijaya Singh had rushed from Ujjain to Bhopal to present himself before a Bhopal court as soon as he got summons in a “political case” in 2016. “But BJP is continuously sheltering a minister accused in a murder case, while ignoring repeated warrants of a court. Why is CM Chouhan disregarding court orders?” he asked.
Jatav was murdered nearly eight years ago while campaigning for Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Bhind, Bhagirath Prasad, during the 2009 elections. He was shot dead at close range just after he finished addressing an election meeting in Cheheta village.