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SC quashes UP Govt order
Withdrawal of POTA charges against Raja Bhaiya
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 10
In a severe blow to Samajwadi Party Government in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court today quashed its order for withdrawing POTA charges against stateís controversial Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, and directed that the case against him be transferred to neighbouring Madhya Pradesh for trial.

Allowing a petition of a witness, whose son was allegedly murdered at the behest of Raja Bhaiya, challenging the order of Mulayam Singh Government to withdraw the POTA charges against him, the apex court directed the Minister to surrender before the special court at Kanpur within 7 days.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh had issued direction for withdrawal of POTA case against Raja Bhaiya, his father Uday Pratap Singh and cousin Akshya Pratap Singh soon after assuming charge of the SP Government in the state after fall of the Mayawati Ministry two years ago.

A Bench of Mr Justice B.N. Agrawal and Mr Justice A.K. Mathur also directing his father and cousin to surrender before the special Judge.

The apex court, however, gave liberty to all the accused to file fresh bail applications before the special court.

The court also set aside the order of State POTA Review Committee holding that no case was made against the Minister and other co-accused under the repealed anti-terror law.

In view of the state governmentís stand defending withdrawal of POTA charges against Raja Bhaiya, his father and cousin Akshya Pratap Singh, now a Lok Sabha MP, the apex court ordered transfer of the case to Madhya Pradesh with the direction that the state high court Chief Justice would assign the case to a competent judge for trial.

The apex court made it clear that the Minister and the other accused would face trial under Section 4(B) of POTA, which deals with illegal possession of sophisticated arms, Arms Act and Explosive Substance Act.

The state governmentís order was challenged in the apex court by Mr S.K. Shukla, whose son was allegedly murdered at the behest of the Minister some years ago. Raja Bhaiya, who allegedly faced over 20 criminal cases, was booked under POTA by previous Mayawati Government and police claimed to have recovered a huge cache of prohibited weapons and explosive material from his premises.

Raja Bhaiya, an independent MLA in UP Assembly had become powerful as he had formed a group of Independent legislatures, whose support is crucial for the SP Government.

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SC ruling big blow for UP Govt
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 10
The Supreme Courtís action in quashing Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadavís orders lifting POTA against Raja Bhaiya was bad enough. By shifting the case to Madhya Pradesh the court has unequivocally indicated what it thinks about his government.

The Supreme Court has perhaps sufficient reasons to do so. Within a short span of two years this is the fourth occasion when the apex court has had to intervene and reverse a controversial order of the Samajawadi Party-led government in Uttar Pradesh. A record by any standards.

In September this year the Supreme Court had cancelled the bail of yet another notorious Samajwadi Party MLA, Amarmani Tripathi, and his wife Madhumani. The order had asked them to surrender before a court for their alleged involvement in the murder of Lucknow-based poet Madhumita Shukla.

Cancelling their bail the Supreme Court had found enough reason to believe the CBIís plea that the high profile accused may tamper with vital evidence in the case. According to the court, there was ample material to show that the duo had tried to interfere in the investigations. The Allahabad High Court had earlier granted bail to the couple on April 29 and July 8, 2004.

Interestingly, days before the bail was actually granted, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav had predicted during a public election meeting in Amarmaniís home district of Maharajganj that the MLA would soon be out on bail.

Again it was on the apex courtís order that the highest civil servant of the state, Neera Yadav, had to unceremoniously quit. The court had directed the government to remove the Chief Secretary within seven days. In its order the court had wondered why the government had appointed her in the first place ignoring the corruption cases pending against her.

The Bench of Justices Ruma Pal, Arijit Pasayat and C K Thakker had said ďa time has come when the postings of officers holding sensitive posts be done in transparent manner giving no scope for any grievance.Ē

In an unprecedented move the Cabinet Secretary was hurriedly shifted as the Chairperson of the Board of Revenue. Ms Neera Yadav had been charge sheeted by the CBI for her alleged involvement in the multi-crore New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) land scam when she was its Chairperson between January 1994 and November 1995. She is also facing an inquiry by one-man judicial commission, headed by former SC Judge K.T. Thomas.

The three-month extension granted to tainted IAS officer Akhand Pratap Singh after he was due to retire as Chief Secretary on October 31, 2003 was the first decision by the newly installed Mulayam Singh Yadav to be challenged by the SC.

A Lucknow-based journalist, Sharad Pradhan had gone to court challenging the extension alleging serious corruption charges against Mr Singh.

Hearing the petition on November 26, 2003, the Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices N. Santosh Hegde and B.P. Singh had asked the UP Government if he was the only IAS officer available for the job. The resignation of Mr Singh had come on the eve of the final hearing at the apex court on the matter.

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