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UP defends Raja let-off

New Delhi, Nov. 19: Days after stirring the Babri cauldron with its affidavit fiasco, the Uttar Pradesh government has filed another one, this time defending its decision to drop terror charges against high profile MLA Raja Bhaiyya.

In the affidavit filed today in the Supreme Court, the state said charges under the Prevention of Terror Act had been dropped against the legislator, his father Uday Pratap Singh and cousin Akshay Pratap Singh because they were not members of any banned outfit nor were they involved in terrorist activity.

Raja Bhaiyya is alleged to have helped Mulayam Singh Yadav prop up his government by engineering defections from Mayavati’s Bahujan Samaj Party.

The chief minister’s first decision after taking over on August 29 was revocation and withdrawal of the terror charges against him.

But the Supreme Court issued a notice to his government after one S.K. Shukla challenged the decision. Today’s affidavit was in response to that.

The affidavit said the decision was taken after “due consideration of all relevant facts and in due exercise of powers vested in the state government”.

On September 1, the Uttar Pradesh special public prosecutor had filed an application before the special judge at Kanpur, where terror law proceedings were pending against the accused. It said “there is nothing substantial on record to show that the accused persons of this case were ever able to strike and create terror among the people at will within the meaning and spirit of Pota”.

The state said the criminal cases pending against Raja Bhaiyya and the others could be dealt with under “normal criminal laws” as they were not “members of any terrorist organisation given in the schedule to Pota”.

The affidavit also gave details of the status of anti-terror law cases in the state. “At present a total of 28 persons have been arrested under Pota — eight of whom connected with Lashkar-e-Toyiba, five from the Hizbul Mujahideen, nine connected with Pakistan intelligence agency ISI and three connected with Jaish-e-Mohammed and of course Raja Bhaiya and his two associates.”

But it distinguished the cases of Raja Bhaiyya and his two accomplices from the rest.

“Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, and two others were not involved in the upsurge of any anti-national activity or were members of any banned organisation, (hence) their cases stood on a different footing than that of the other 25 persons.

“The said fact was duly considered and a conscious decision to withdraw Pota cases against respondents was taken by the state government.”

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