Uttarakhand High Court’s Order Of CBI Probe Against Trivendra Singh Rawat Stayed By Supreme Court.

Uttarakhand High Court’s order for a CBI probe into corruption allegations against Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat were stayed by the Supreme Court on Thursday. It said that orders were passed in haste without hearing Trivendra Singh Rawat. Two journalists had levelled corruption allegations against Rawat in relation to money transferred allegedly into the accounts of his relatives in 2016 in lieu of appointment of a person as head of ‘Gau Seva Ayog’ of Jharkhand during Rawat’s tenure as Jharkhand BJP in-charge.

Stating that the order was passed in haste by the high court without hearing the chief minister, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and also comprising Justices RS Reddy and MR Shah, said it has taken everybody by surprise as there was no plea to lodge an FIR against Rawat. Appearing for Rawat, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that an FIR cannot be lodged without hearing the party – an elected Chief Minister in this case – and this would unsettle an elected government, which can not be allowed to happen. After the order was passed, a demand for resignation of the chief minister had been made. Venugopal said that the high court passed the order without taking into account the fact that it may destabilise an elected government, adding that high court was wrong in directing for lodging of an FIR without hearing the party. Appearing for the two journalists, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that he was ok with the stay order but added that there was ample evidence in support of corruption allegations against Rawat.

The Supreme court issued notices to the state and the two journalists Umesh Sharma and Shiv Prasad Semwal. However, it did not stay the part of high court order where it dismissed the FIR lodged against the two scribes in July under IPC provisions relating to sedition, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy. The FIR against the scribes had been lodged for posting a video on Facebook alleging that after demonetisation, a person from Jharkhand named Amritesh Chauhan deposited money into the bank account of Harendra Singh Rawat and his wife Savita Rawat, who are allegedly related to the chief minister. Harendra, a retired professor, had lodged FIR at Dehradun against Sharma and alleged that he was being blackmailed by him.

The Supreme court dismissed a separate plea by Sharma seeking transfer of 3 criminal cases pending against him from Dehradun to Delhi saying that he was being targeted by the Rawat government. Observing that his activities had been questioned by a member of the the sting operation team, the top court noted that Sharma faces 17 cases in Uttarakhand, 4 in UP, 5 in West Bengal, 2 in Delhi out of which one is under investigation of CBI.

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