A court in Chhattisgarh's Raipur district Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of former chief minister Raman Singh's son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta and BJP leader Maturam Pawar in a case related to the alleged fixing of the 2014 Antagarh bypoll.
Gupta and Pawar had filed pre-arrest bail applications after the Raipur police lodged a case against them on February 3 based on a complaint by Congress leader Kiranmayee Nayak, their lawyer Hitendra Tiwari told PTI.
The bail pleas were rejected by Additional District and Session Judge Vivek Kumar Verma, he added.
Additional Advocate General and Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Satish Chandra Verma told the court that the crime was very serious as a huge amount of money had exchanged hands and contended that anticipatory bail should not be given to the accused as they can influence the investigation process.
After hearing the arguments, the court observed that the case was at the stage of preliminary investigation and therefore the accused were not entitled to anticipatory bail, the special public prosecutor said.
They were booked under IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) 420 (cheating), 171E (punishment for bribery), 171F (undue influence at election), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and sections 9 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
In 2015-16, an audio CD was leaked which had purported conversations suggesting an exchange of money to make Manturam Pawar, Congress candidate in the 2014 Antagarh bypoll in Kanker district, withdraw at the last minute to facilitate the BJP candidate's victory.
The bypoll was won by BJP's Bhojraj Nag. Pawar, who had pulled out a day before the last date for withdrawal, was subsequently expelled from the Congress.
The audio tape suggested that his withdrawal was at the behest of the BJP and facilitated by Ajit Jogi.
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