BHOPAL: It was a crucial day for two individuals connected with the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.
While Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar was released from Dhar district jail following bail in a kidnapping case, the Madhya Pradesh minister of state for Narmada Valley Development (independent charge) Lal Singh Arya was listed among the accused in 2009 Congress MLA murder case on the order of a local court in Bhind district.
NBA founder Medha Patkar, who has been crusading for families displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project in MP, was released from the Dhar district jail after a fortnight. Her release came a day after the Indore Bench of the MP High Court granted her bail in a kidnapping case.
On August 1, the NBA activists had allegedly taken revenue department officials, including a Nayab Tehsildat forcefully to Patkar’s indefinite fast venue at Chikilda village in Dhar district. The NBA activists had also allegedly snatched government files from them.
On August 9, Patkar was sent to jail in connection with five cases, including, case of possible breach of peace, a case of violating prohibitory orders, two cases of assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty (Section 353 of IPC) and a case of kidnapping (Section 365 of IPC).
On August 12, the judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) court in Kukshi-Dhar granted Patkar bail in the case pertaining to violation of prohibitory orders but rejected bail pleas in three other cases, following which her counsel had moved bail applications in the remaining three cases before the ADJ-Kukshi court.
ADJ-Kukshi court granted Patkar bail in two cases pertaining to assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty (Section 353 of IPC), but had denied her bail in the case pertaining to the alleged kidnapping of revenue department staff by the NBA activists (Section 365 of IPC). After that Patkar had filed bail application in Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Meanwhile, in another development, a local court in Bhind district ordered including name of MP minister of state for Narmada Valley Development (independent charge) Lal Singh Arya among the eight accused in the 2009 Congress MLA Makhanlal Jatav murder case.
The special judge (SC/ST Atrocities Act) also issued a bailable arrest warrant of Rs 25,000 against the minister of state and ordered that the minister personally appear before the court on September 14 in the case.
Earlier, on May 19 also, the same court had ordered including Arya among the accused in the case based on the statements of eye witnesses about his alleged involvement in the 2009 killing. The court then had issued a non bailable arrest warrant (NBW) against the minister, but stayed its execution till June 3, 2017 on the plea by the minister’s counsel Avdhesh Singh Kushwah.
The minister had later filed a revision petition in the MP High Court, challenging the lower court order. The HC, while quashing the lower court order had directed the Bhind court to hear the petitioner (the minister) and then pass a fresh order in the case.
The minister subsequently moved the Supreme Court, but the apex court, while rejecting his petition, deleted the HC directive which rendered the minister an opportunity to be heard by the lower court in Bhind, before the Bhind court passed a fresh order.
According to RP Singh Kushwah, the counsel for the slain Congress MLA’s family, the special judge (SC/ST Atrocities) Yogesh Kumar Gupta passed fresh order on Thursday, including the minister’s name again among the accused in the murder case. The court also issued the bailable arrest warrant against Arya, fixing the date of his personal appearance in the case on September 14.