Rajasthan govt seeks withdrawal of land scam case against ex-IAS, 2 others
The Rajasthan government has moved an application in court seeking to withdraw a case filed against a retired IAS officer and two other civil servants charged in a case related to alleged irregularities in land allotment. A charge-sheet was filed against the three in 2016, when BJP government under Vasundhara Raje was in power.
The three officials are retired IAS officer GS Sandhu, former Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer Nishkam Diwakar and Onkar Mal Saini, a serving RAS officer. Sandhu is now an advisor to Rajasthan Cricket Association president Vaibhav Gehlot, son of CM Ashok Gehlot. The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) had lodged an FIR on December 3, 2014.
The case dated back to 2011, when a Congress government under Ashok Gehlot reversed a decision by the first Raje government in 2005 not to give a single deed to a private firm for three khasras of agricultural land in Jaipur’s Jagatpura area. Khasra is a local unit for measuring land. The three were arrested, but were released on bail. In July 2019, Sandhu and Diwakar submitted a representation to the Gehlot government urging it to review and withdraw the case. On January 19, 2021, an application was moved in court to withdraw the case.
In the withdrawal application, the state government said that the probe hadn’t found any evidence to show that the officials had benefitted in any way or been involved in any conspiracy.
The BJP criticised the decision. “The government is withdrawing cases against former officials and giving new postings to those who are still serving and facing corruptions charges, said party’s spokesperson Mukesh Pareek. A senior ACB official said the government can withdraw a case in public interest under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Sandhu said: “It was purely an administrative decision taken at the government level and in good faith.” The next hearing is on February 12.
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