With Opposition parties demanding his resignation, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court against the High Court’s direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe corruption allegations. The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday quashed a First Information Report (FIR) registered against a journalist for a social media post alleging that a man from Jharkhand deposited money post-demonetization into the bank account of the Chief Minister’s relatives. Seeing the reports and documents produced by the journalist about the money transfers to Chief Minister’s relatives, Justice Ravindra Maithani ordered a CBI probe.
Umesh Sharma, the journalist, had filed a petition in the Court, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged against him for the social media post, in which he had claimed that one Amritesh Chauhan from Jharkhand deposited money after demonetization into the bank account of Harendra Singh Rawat and his wife Savita Rawat for the personal benefit of Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Bank statements were also attached to the post in support of the allegations. Sharma had claimed that Savita Rawat was the sister of the chief minister’s wife. Harendra Singh Rawat had filed a case against Sharma at a Dehradun police station on July 31, accusing him of blackmailing. Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal represented the journalist. After hearing the parties, Justice R Maithani quashed the FIR against Sharma and issued directions for CBI to probe into the matter.
Harish Rawat described the court’s order as “serious” and asked the Chief Minister to quit in order to facilitate an impartial probe into the case.
Another journalist Shiv Prasad Semwal also filed a petition in the High Court on the same matter for quashing FIRs against him for reporting corruption charges against the Chief Minister and family. Journalists also accused Chief Minister Rawat, who was then Jharkhand in-charge of the BJP, of alleged money transfers to accounts of his relatives in 2016 to support an appointment of a person in that state to head the Gau Seva Ayog.
Congress demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. “A chief minister, who does not tire of flaunting the state government’s policy of zero tolerance to corruption, has no right to continue in office for a minute after an order like this,” State Congress Chief Pritam Singh told a joint press conference in Dehradun, held along with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and former Chief Minister Harish Rawat and the newly appointed party in-charge for Uttarakhand, Devendra Yadav. Singh said the party is waiting for an appointment with Governor Baby Rani Maurya to seek her intervention in the matter.
Harish Rawat described the court’s order as “serious” and asked the Chief Minister to quit in order to facilitate an impartial probe into the case. “After the High Court’s order, the Chief Minister should quit immediately to pave the way for an impartial probe into the charges against him,” he said.
[with PTI inputs]
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