The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Karnataka has decided to withdraw at least 62 criminal cases against many of its party's leaders, including sitting MPs and MLAs.
The decision was taken following suggestions from a sub-committee led by state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai. The state's director general and inspector general of police, the director of prosecution and government litigation and the law department, however, had opposed the move.
Cases being withdrawn include one against the state's Law Minister JC Madhuswamy and Tourism Minister CT Ravi, charged under sections 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code. The case is pertaining to violence that erupted between students of two communities in Mysuru district's Hunsur city in November 2015.
Another case is from 2017 when Hospete MLA Anand Singh blocked of the taluk office by 300 locals after stone-pelting and vandalism. The incident had reported property damage worth Rs 3 lakh. The politician, who was then with the Congress, was accused of criminal intimidation, assault on a government official and obstruction of duty.
A case against Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil, charged in a 2012 case in connection with immersion of Ganesh idol, is also among the withdrawn cases.
Other cases being dropped include those of Mandya independent MP Sumalatha Ambarish, BJP MLA fromYelburga Hallapa Achar, BJP MLA from Honnalli and CM's political secretary MP Renukacharya.
Despite the department's opposition to the withdrawals, Madhuswamy said that this was a routine affair.
"Decision on these 62 cases was taken earlier, we have withdrawn cases in the past as well in which Congress and JD(S) leaders were involved. But this cannot mean that those involved in cases like the Bengaluru riots and loot will be spared," the state law minister said. adding that the move will ease burden on the courts.
Madhuswamy said that the cases being withdrawn were only those where the individuals fought for rights.
"If they were fighting for fundamental rights of people of their constituencies and cases of public importance where people stage a stir against the establishment, which they have the right to and at that time, police filed suo moto cases, such cases are being withdrawn," he added.
Meanwhile, the Youth Congress in Karnataka has questioned the state government's decision.
The party give tickets only for them— M.Kashif Ahmed || ಎಂ.ಕೆ. ಅಹ್ಮದ್ (@M_KashifAhmed) September 3, 2020
Who have a criminal background or one who have done crimetl
The person who don't know to speak English he's Tourism Minister
Another one who don't know to talk properly with women's & peoples of Karnataka he's Law Minister.#CriminalsOfBJP pic.twitter.com/U3FOn9HfvV