The Allahabad high court on Friday suspended special judge (POCSO) Om Prakash Mishra for granting bail to rape accused former minister Gayatri Prajapati in a “hasty” manner.
The Lucknow bench of the court also cancelled the bail granted to Prajapati and two of his associates in the 2014 gang rape case.
- Gayatri Prajapati is an accused in the gang rape of a woman and her minor daughter in 2014. A non-bailable warrant was issued against the former SP minister and six others in the case
- The woman accused Prajapati of offering her tea laced with sedatives and raping her
- Prajapati had contested the 2017 assembly election from Amethi seat but lost. He was missing after the polls and an FIR was lodged against him on February 27
- The Supreme Court had turned down Prajapati’s plea for stay on arrest on March 6
- A lookout notice was issued for Prajapati by the UP Police after he went missing
- He was arrested from Ashiyana area in Lucknow by the UP Special Task Force (STF) on March 15
- The minister, considered close to SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, is also facing charges of misappropriation of funds in the mining department
An inquiry will be conducted against Mishra by justice Sudhir Agarwal of the HC and a report will be submitted by Sunday.
Mishra had granted bail to Prajapati on April 25, and was set to retire on April 30.
Hearing Uttar Pradesh government’s appeal against the bail, chief justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale noted that the bail order was decided in haste and it was a matter of concern for him as the judge was to retire on Sunday.
Gayatri, however, was not released from prison on April 25 even after getting bail as cops had sought his judicial remand in two other cases, which was allowed by the court. But his two associates Vikas Varma and Pintu Singh were released on bail. The CJ cancelled the bail and directed the police to take the two into custody again.
Opposing the bail, the state’s additional advocate general VK Shahi pointed out it was granted without taking into account the facts of the case, and requested the court to hear the petition on Friday itself.
Shahi said the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court of judge Mishra did not grant enough time to the prosecution and the investigating officer to cross examine Prajapati’s bail application. They were given only one day, as against three days sought.
He also noted that Prajapati’s bail plea concealed facts before the court. It had said that “no criminal case is pending against him. However, six criminal cases are pending against the former minister”, Shahi said.