RAM SHANKAR Katheria, Union minister and BJP MP from Agra and in news recently for taking part in a condolence meet for a murdered VHP leader where Muslims were equated to “demons” and “descendants of Ravana”, had received clean chit in five criminal cases from the Akhilesh government in 2013.
The state government had ordered the withdrawal of these cases on April 1, 2013, on ground of “public interest and interest for justice”.
The cases against Katheria, who had been the local BJP MP then, were registered during 2010-2011 at three police stations of Agra. He was booked on charges of rioting, attack on police team, causing hurt to deter public servant from doing his duty and wrongful confinement. When contacted, Katheria said, “I will have to check the status of these cases with my lawyer Devendra Singh.”
Singh, however, said: “The court allowed the withdrawal of three cases. Withdrawal applications in two other cases were rejected by the local court… we later moved a revision petition in the upper court. In one of the two cases, the district judge court directed the lower court to take up the withdrawal application once again and consider it. Application in the other case is pending.”
In the ongoing Assembly session in UP, Congress MLAs had demanded action against Katheria for his ‘hate speech’ in Agra. In reply, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan had said action was being taken in connection with the “inflammatory” speech issue but no Union minister can be arrested.
The cases against the minister are as follows:
2010: A mob had blocked National Highway 2 after Ram Shankar Katheria was detained by the police following a protest on February 7, 2010. Sub-Inspector Anil Chowdhary, then posted at Hariparwat police station, had filed an FIR against Katheria and 500 to 600 unidentified persons on charges including rioting, rioting armed with deadly weapon, wrongful confinement and voluntarily causing hurt. Police filed a chargesheet against Katheria and five others on October 17, 2010.
2010: BSP leader Advocate Kuber Chand had got an FIR filed against six persons, including the staff of Ambedkar University in Agra, for issuing threats to Ram Shankar Katheria and missing documents related to his work. The FIR was lodged at Hariparwat police station on charges like cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, criminal intimidation and causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information. Among others, the FIR filed on July 23, 2010, included Katheria’s name. Police filed a chargesheet on November 19, 2010.
2011: Ram Shankar Katheria was accused of blocking MG Road, leading to disturbance in traffic movement, breaking barriers, stopping and damaging fire tenders and also attempting to set them ablaze. Then SHO of Loha Mandi police station in Agra, B Singh, filed the FIR against 13 people, including Katheria, and 500 to 600 unidentified people on January 28, 2011 at Nai ki Mandi police station. The FIR was lodged on charges of rioting, act endangering life or personal safety of others and wrongful confinement. Police filed chargesheet against 14 people, including Katheria, on May 7, 2011.
2011: Sub-Inspector H P Singh filed an FIR against 14 people, including Ram Shankar Katheria and 50 to 60 unidentified people for creating ruckus at a power sub-station on January 4, 2011. They were booked for deterring government servant from doing their duty, threatening them and creating terror among public. The case was registered on January 4, 2011 at Etmadpur police station and chargesheet was filed on March 1, 2011.
Another case was lodged in the same incident on a complaint of then power department executive engineer Ranveer Singh against 13 people, including Katheria, and 50 to 60 unidentified people. Singh accused them of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult to provoke breach of peace, criminal intimidation and assault and criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty, among others. The police filed the chargesheet on March 1, 2011.