Three granted anticipatory bail in Antagarh bypoll case

The Chhattisgarh High Court Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to former chief minister Raman Singh’s son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta, former minister Rajesh Munat and BJP leader Maturam Pawar in connection with the alleged 2014 Antagarh bypoll fixing.

All three accused had filed separate pleas seeking pre-arrest bail. The hearing was going on before Justice Goutam Bhaduri.

Raipur police had lodged a case against Gupta, Munat and Pawar on February 3 in response to a complaint by Congress leader Kiranmayee Nayak, Additional Advocate General Satishchandra Verma said.

The petitioners’ lawyers argued that the FIR was lodged four years after the incident on the basis of weak evidence and it was political vendetta.

After hearing the arguments, the court granted them anticipatory bail.

In 2015-16, an audio CD came to surface. The conversations recorded in the CD suggested that there was a deal to make Maturam Pawar, Congress candidate in the 2014 Antagarh Assembly by-election, withdraw at the last minute to help the BJP nominee win.

The by-election was won by BJP’s Bhojraj Nag.

Pawar, who had pulled out of the race a day before the last date for withdrawal, was expelled from the Congress.

The CD suggested that his withdrawal was at the behest of the BJP and was facilitated by former chief minister Ajit Jogi.

It contained conversations purportedly between Ajit Jogi, his son Amit, Gupta, Pawar and few others.

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