'Govt has no respect for rule of law'

Withdrawal of criminal cases against two Bellary BJP ministers comes under fire

The JD(S) alleged that the government had no respect for law of the land and the administration was heading towards anarchy.

The Cabinet on June 19 withdrew criminal cases filed against BJP leaders of Bellary and their supporters for violating the election model code of conduct during the 2008 Assembly elections and the elections to Bellary City Corporation in 2007. The Cabinet had also withdrawn a case filed in connection with blasting of Sugalamma temple, which was registered in Bellary rural police station.

JD(S) leader M C Nanaiah, beginning the debate over the issue, alleged the Cabinet misused its discretionary powers for the political benefits. Both Law and Home departments had opposed withdrawal of cases. There was no public interest in the government’s act, he alleged.

The officers of Election Commission had registered cases for violating the model code of conduct in the interest of holding free and fair elections. If the state withdraws cases filed by the Election Commission, there is no point in having the Commission itself. Referring to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Abdul Kareem’s petition challenging the government’s decision to drop seven criminal cases against Veerappan’s aides, Nanaiah said the court had expressed such a decision would lead to anarchy and the public lose faith in the democratic set up. “Are we leading to the jungle raj?” he questioned.

Opposition Leader V S Ugrappa alleged that the government had withdrawn various cases in which activists of Bajrang Dal were involved. If a charge sheet had been filed, then it meant that there was adequate evidence for prosecution.

Home Minister V S Acharya defence on the issue was simple. The governments in the past were no better in this regard, he said and quoted examples of cases withdrawn in the past on the similar lines. “It is an age old practice to book case``s that are politically motivated and for the party that comes to power to
withdraw them later,” he defended.

Acharya’s defence
He said, the Cabinet decided to withdraw the cases using its wisdom.
* Even cases against senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah were withdrawn, following a request from him to do so
* Sugalamma temple case was withdrawn as the temple did not fall in the State’s jurisdiction.
*  Between 2001 and 2008, as many as 955 cases were withdrawn by successive governments.
* As many as 423 cases were withdrawn in 2005 alone when Dharam Singh was the CM
* As many 423 cases were withdrawn in 2007
* Leaders who had asked for withdrawal of cases include Kagodu Thimappa, Tanvir Sait, PGR Sindhia, Basavaraj Horatti, H D Kumaraswamy, Cheluvaraya Swamy, Sharanabasappa Darshanpura, Narendra Babu, Prakash Hukkeri, D B Jayachandra and Siddaramaiah.
* The Congress withdrew the CBI inquiry against DMK in 1980 and dropped cases against Ottavio Quattrochi in the Bofors case.

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