Govt may drop cases against BJP leaders

Most FIRs relate to political agitations

Over three dozen criminal cases related to political protests registered against BJP leaders at different Delhi police stations may be withdrawn soon with the Delhi administration initiating the process for legally dropping them.

The move may bring relief to the saffron party leaders like Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel, MP Anurag Thakur, youth BJP wing chief Nakul Bhardwaj and Kuljeet Chahal.

The leaders are trying to make the best use of the party’s government at the Centre and get the Union Home Ministry, which controls the city through the Lieutenant Governor during the President’s Rule, to withdraw some of the “politically motivated” cases filed against them, sources said.

Most of the 39 cases which may be withdrawn relate to disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant (IPC 188),  wrongful confinement (IPC 342), mischief causing damage of over Rs 50 (IPC 427), criminal intimidation (IPC 506) and word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (IPC 509).

“A proposal is being sent to the screening committee which takes the final decision on withdrawal of the criminal cases,” said a Delhi administration official.

Court’s consent
The withdrawal of the cases may be done under section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The section allows a public prosecutor in charge of a case to seek the court’s consent, at any time before the judgment is pronounced, to withdraw from the prosecution of any person.

An official said the accused can either directly approach Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung or seek his intervention through the Home Department of the Delhi administration.

On receiving a request from an accused politician, the Principal Secretary (Home) – who heads the screening committee - makes a proposal for the approval of the Chief Secretary. The top bureaucrat then forwards the file to the Lieutenant Governor for the final clearance.

The screening committee also includes Law Secretary, Director of Prosecution and Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime). After the minutes of the committee get the Lieutenant Governor’s nod, the Director of Prosecution files an application in court for formal withdrawal of a case.

Sources said in October, former Principal Home Secretary Archana Arora, too, had
prepared a proposal for giving relief to some politicians facing cases allegedly filed as vendetta.

Official approval
“The minutes of that meeting, however, did not get the official approval for dropping the criminal cases,” said an official.

An official said the screening meeting would now be called again as an earlier attempt to offer relief to the accused was found to be ridden with discrepancies.

“All similar cases were not treated equally earlier, so we have to undertake the exercise again,” said the official.

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