Moradabad BJP MLA Ritesh Kumar Gupta and all 74 accused, including UP Cabinet minister Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary acquitted by a special court in UP’s Moradabad. They were charged for allegedly attacking policemen during the protest in Kanth area of the district in 2014.
On Tuesday, Additional District and Session Judge Punit Kumar Gupta acquitted all the accused, who were on bail just before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections of 2022.
Additional District Government Counsel (ADGC) Maneesh Bhatnagar said the prosecution will move to the upper court if required after studying the court order.
The protest was called by the then opposition party BJP against the Moradabad administration for removing a loudspeaker from a Dalit temple in the Kanth police station area.
The incident took place on July 4, 2014, when the BJP called a Maha panchayat against the government’s order of removing a loudspeaker from the Dalit temple in a Muslim-dominated-Akbarpur village in the Kanth area of Moradabad in June by the police.
The clashes began after the police lathi-charged and fired bullets in the air to disperse the crowd.
The stone-pelting by the BJP workers had allegedly left then district magistrate with severe head injuries. The police, however, succeeded in dispersing the mob from the railway tracks, where hundreds of BJP activists gathered to obstruct the Indian railways.
The prosecution produced 24 witnesses, including the District Magistrate, before the special court during the hearing. However, the court couldn’t find them guilty and free all 74 accused from the charges.
Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary later became the cabinet minister in 2017 when the BJP formed the government in the state.