Accused of masterminding the 2006 fake encounter of liquor smuggler Dara Singh, former BJP minister Rajendra Singh Rathore was acquitted on Thursday for lack of evidence. His acquittal will bolster the BJP's image in the state ahead of the assembly polls next year.
No motive could be attributed to Rathore and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which was investigating the case, has produced no evidence against him, said district and sessions judge Prakash Chand Jain. The CBI had recorded statements of 28 witnesses, but none of them had named Rathore.
Singh, a liquor mafia, was killed in an encounter in October 2006 in Jaipur. His family alleged that the encounter was staged.
The CBI, in its chargesheet in June 2011, said the murder was monitored by additional director general of police AK Jain and then minister Rathore was in touch with him. On April 5, the CBI arrested Rathore on charges of abduction, murder and conspiracy.
The court did not consider the calls Rathore made to Jain as evidence.
"There is no evidence that security of Rathore was increased in view of the perceived threat to his life from Dara," the court said.