City Reports

HC Jaipur bench issues notice to Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in horse-trading case

The state government had filed an appeal seeking permission to obtain the voice sample of the Union Minister

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June 23, 2023, 11:52 pm

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

JAIPUR: Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court has issued a notice to Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in relation to the ongoing horse-trading case.

The state government had filed an appeal seeking permission to obtain the voice sample of the Union Minister, and the court of Vacation Judge Justice Chandra Kumar Songara has taken notice of this petition.

Previously, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had filed a plea in the trial court requesting the voice sample of Gajendra Singh, but it was rejected.

Subsequently, the ACB approached the ADJ court with a revision petition challenging the trial court’s decision. However, this revision petition was also dismissed on February 17th.

On Thursday, the ACB filed a petition in the Jaipur Bench of the High Court, leading to the issuance of the notice by the court after the hearing.

Gajendra Singh has been directed to respond to the court within four weeks. Following his response, a re-hearing will take place, during which it will be determined whether the ACB will be granted permission to obtain his voice sample or not.

During the court proceedings on Thursday, Additional Advocate General Ghanshyam Singh Rathore, representing the state government, referred to a Supreme Court order.

He stated that the trial court and the revision court rejected their prayer solely on the grounds that there is no provision in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to issue such an order.

According to the 2019 Supreme Court order, until Parliament enacts a law concerning this matter, the magistrate may issue such an order. Rathore highlighted that the lower court had previously ordered the collection of voice samples from another co-accused, Sanjay Jain. However, the application for Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was rejected.

The genesis of this case can be traced back to the political crisis of 2020, when MLAs from the Gehlot and Pilot factions were confined to a hotel.

Three audio clips emerged on social media, leading Mahesh Joshi, the former chief whip of the government, to file a complaint with the Special Operations Group (SOG).

Allegations were made that a conspiracy was underway to overthrow the Rajasthan government. The viral audio clip featured voices purported to be those of Sanjay Jain, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, and the late MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma.

Following the complaint, the SOG arrested Sanjay Jain for investigation. Later, the SOG concluded that the case fell under the jurisdiction of the ACB and filed a Final Report (FR) accordingly.

Since then, the ACB has been conducting an investigation into the matter, with Sanjay Jain, the late MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma, and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat named as the accused. Sanjay Jain is currently out on bail.

First published: June 22, 2023