Lawyers protest withdrawal of case against minister

Lawyers in Jaunpur have objected to the state government's move to withdraw a criminal case against Minister of State for Land Development Jagdish Sonkar, which arose from a fight with an advocate in 2010. The local Civil Court Bar Association has written to the Governor and the District Magistrate, condemning the one-sided action.

Awadesh Singh, association general secretary, said, "Let the accused face trial and the court decide the matter". Otherwise, the government should also withdraw the case which Sonkar had lodged against advocate Prashant Pankaj Srivastava and two others because "both cases arose from the same incident", Singh said.

Jaunpur District Magistrate Suhas L Y said he was not in Jaunpur and, therefore, not aware of any letter sent by lawyers. The application for withdrawal of the case against the minister was filed in the court of the additional district judge on November 9 and is listed for December 14, it is learnt. Jagdish Sonkar won the 2012 Assembly election from Jaunpur's Machhlishahr constituency. In June 2010, when the incident took place, he was MLA from Shahganj.

He lodged an FIR against Prashant Pankaj Srivastava and two others, namely Manish Singh and Guddu Maurya, accusing them of assaulting him and insulting him after stopping his vehicle in Kila area. The case was lodged under various sections of the IPC and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act at the Kotwali police station. Prashant was arrested and produced before the court which sent him to jail. A day later, he came out on bail.

On the other hand, Prashant alleged that the case was concocted. He said Jagdish Sonkar's car hit his motorcycle from behind and when he objected, Sonkar and his guards beat him and his colleagues. When the police did not entertain his complaint, he moved court which ordered registration of a case against Sonkar. He alleged that Sonkar also snatched away his gold chain. The Jaunpur police filed chargesheet in both cases. Jaunpur district government counsel Ashutosh Chaturvedi said charges are yet to be framed in both cases.

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