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Posted at: May 13, 2017, 12:50 AM; last updated: May 13, 2017, 12:50 AM (IST)

The Yogi trial

Another CM in conflict-of-interest puzzle
The Yogi trial
THERE is a conflict-of-interest situation in Uttar Pradesh akin to the one Punjab witnessed earlier during the Badal regime and is set for a repeat under Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The UP Home Ministry has denied the CID permission to prosecute the Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, for making a hate speech resulting in anti-Muslim riots in Gorakhpur in 2007. This was conveyed to the Allahabad High Court on Thursday by the state Chief Secretary. The CID completed its investigation and submitted the draft final report to the government in April 2015. Under Section 153-A, IPC, sanction of the Principal Secretary (Law) was required to proceed against the Yogi, then an MP.

The Allahabad High Court raised the conflict-of-interest question and declined the government counsel’s request to close the case. How can the Home Department allow the prosecution of a Chief Minister? In the disproportionate assets case against the Badals, witnesses turned hostile and the investigating officer retracted, inviting a perjury case. Last year the Punjab Vigilance Bureau gave Capt Amarinder Singh a clean chit in the Amritsar Improvement Trust case but the Ludhiana City Centre scam case is pending and the Enforcement Directorate too has joined the investigations. Apart from the embarrassment of making U-turns to rescue their CMs, state prosecuting agencies gladly accept court strictures and do not challenge the acquittals. 

It will be interesting to watch attempts of the authorities in UP to bail out Yogi Adityanath and how the Allahabad High Court is able to counter them. The Chief Secretary told the court the CD containing the Yogi’s hate speech was tampered with. In a TV interview the Yogi has admitted to making the controversial speech. This is another case of politicians belonging to various political parties coming to the rescue of one in the opposite camp. The successive chief ministers — Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav — did not give the CID the go-ahead to prosecute the hate-spewing Yogi. They showed little enthusiasm to put the BJP firebrand in jail. Apparently, Hindu-Muslim riots and communal polarisation are politically useful — and not just to the BJP.

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