The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday arrested former Rajasthan Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Rajendra Rathore for his alleged involvement in the fake encounter case of local liquor smuggler Dara Singh in 2006.
Rathore, 56, a five time MLA, was arrested by the CBI amid slogan-shouting by his supporters who had assembled at the agency's local office.
The high-profile arrest of Rathore comes nearly six weeks after the CBI arrested absconding Additional Director General of Rajasthan Police A K Jain, who had been named in the charge sheet by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the fake encounter of Dara Singh.
In its charge-sheet filed last year in June, CBI alleged that Dara Singh was taken into illegal custody by the Special Operation Group officials from Jaipur Airport and was taken to a lonely place near Amber where he was kept hostage till October 23, 2006, when he was killed in a planned manner.
"The circumstantial evidence shows clearly that Dara was murdered in cold blood by SOG personnel and the same was duly monitored by ADG Police A K Jain, SP SOG A Ponnuchammi and Additional SP Arshad Ali along with other officials and during this entire period Rajendra Rathore (a sitting BJP MLA) was on telephonic touch with Jain, ADGP," the charge-sheet had said.
However, Rathore, before his arrest claimed that he was being implicated falsely at the behest of the Congress government. "I did not know the person who was killed in the encounter before the incident was reported in newspapers next day in October 2006," the former public works minister said.
"It is very unfortunate that I am being implicated falsely but it is fortunate that you all are gathered here to give me moral support. I will return and resume my work to strengthen the party," he said before his arrest at a public meeting which was attended by BJP leaders including Vasundhara Raje.
In a statement, the CBI said the MLA had been arrested for an on-going investigation relating to the fake encounter case.
Dara Singh, a resident of village Mundital of Churu district was allegedly killed by SOG, Rajasthan on the outskirts of Jaipur on October 23, 2006. On a petition filed by wife of deceased Dara Singh, the Supreme Court directed the CBI to take up the investigation.
"The investigation revealed that Dara Singh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy. During the course of investigation, accused persons were examined and given sufficient opportunity to present their plausible explanation or defence," the spokesperson said in the statement.
A charge sheet was filed against 16 persons including Jain and 15 others under various sections of Indian Penal Code. Out of this 12 accused are at present in jail while three policemen and another person are absconding.
Those charge sheeted in the case were the then Additional DG (Crime); the then SP(SOG); the then Additional SP(SOG); seven Sub-Inspectors; the then three Head Constables; the then two Constables all of Rajasthan Police and one private person.
While filing the charge sheet last year, the CBI had sought permission of the court to keep the probe open as some other persons could be arrested for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy behind the killing of Dara Singh.