UP refuses sanction for CM Yogi's prosecution in riots case

The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday told the Allahabad High Court that it refuses to grant sanction for the prosecution of chief minister Yogi Adityanath in a 2007 communal riots case.

An affidavit was filed before the court by chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar stating that sanction has been "refused" for prosecuting Adityanath – who now parades as a champion of law and order - in a case related to the Gorakhpur riots of 2007, when he was the local MP.

The chief secretary had been asked to appear in person in an order dated 7 May issued by a division bench comprising Justices Ramesh Sinha and Umesh Chandra Srivastava.

In his affidavit, Bhatnagar also stated that the Crime Branch of the state Criminal Investigation Department, which has been investigating the case registered in connection with the riots, has proposed to submit its closure report and it will be submitted before the trial court.

"We challenged the state government's stand and submitted before the court that the chief secretary happens to be a subordinate of the chief minister, who is himself an accused. The refusal to grant sanction is tantamount to an accused declining to be prosecuted, which has no parallel in the world," the petitioners' counsel S F A Naqvi told PTI.

He said, "We also pointed out that Yogi Adityanath has himself, in an interview to a private news channel, which is available on YouTube, admitted to having made the incendiary speeches for which he has been named in the FIR lodged at Gorakhpur. We requested that the court summon the video recording to get a first-hand impression."

"The court responded to our submission by asking the state government to file an affidavit on the next date of hearing explaining why a recording of the said interview not be summoned," he said.

"We also sought permission to file an application challenging the state government's order refusing to the grant sanction for prosecuting Yogi Adityanath. The court gave permission to do so by the next date of hearing on 7 July," the counsel added.

The petition was filed by Parvez Parwaz, the complainant in the First Information Report lodged in connection with the riots at the Cantonment police station of Gorakhpur, and Asad Hayat, a witness in the case, in which the then city Mayor Anju Chaudhary and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Radha Mohan Das Agrawal have also been named as accused.

The petitioners have moved the high court seeking an investigation into the case by an independent agency.