The BJP government in the state has withdrawn all criminal cases baring one against Shivkumar Sharma, a former RSS man, who had led a violent farmers’ protest in May 2012.
The protest in Bareli, during which large-scale arson took place and several government officials and policemen were beaten up, had resulted in police firing that claimed one life and left several people injured.
In all, 10 FIRs were filed in Raisen district against Sharma and over 50 farmers. They were booked for attempt to murder, arson and rioting among other offences. Raisen Collector J K Jain confirmed to The Indian Express that nine cases had been withdrawn and that the tenth would soon be revoked.
Transparency International member Ajay Dubey alleged that withdrawal of cases was an illegal trade off ahead of Assembly polls. Sharma, however, denied any deal with the government.
Rajesh Kumar Gupta, who was the additional law secretary when he conveyed to the Raisen collector the government’s opinion in August 2013, said it is not binding on courts to accept such opinion. Gupta, who is now an additional district judge in Indore said, “As a judge I won’t let that happen.’’
Meanwhile, Sharma said he will challenge the withdrawal of cases in a higher court and claimed he had moved an RTI plea to know the grounds on which cases against him were withdrawn. The former RSS activist claimed the government’s hand was forced as the cases were weak.
While Sharma was in jail, the BJP had petitioned the RSS to sack him and had claimed that he instigated the farmers when his illegal demands for mining leases and other favours were not met.
After he was released on bail, Sharma moved the Registrar of Firms and Societies claiming he had been removed illegally from the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), an affiliated body of the Sangh Parivar.
In February 2013, Sharma floated a political party Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (KMPP) and announced decision to contest assembly polls scheduled in November. In August 2013, before the code of conduct came into force, the Home department wrote to the Law department that continuing the trials was not in “the interest of administration of justice.’’