A Raipur court on Saturday acquitted senior Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi of the charge of being involved in the murder of Nationalist Congress Party leader Ram Avatar Jaggi, citing insufficient grounds to press the allegation against him.
There was no sufficient ground to charge Jogi under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (conspiracy) in the 2003 case, Additional District and Sessions Judge B L Tidke said.
The court noted that the CBI had not chargesheeted Ajit Jogi previously and during the murder trial, Satish Jaggi, the slain NCP leader's son, never asked the court to make the former chief minister an accused although he had later filed a complaint.
Since there was no sufficient material to establish that Ajit Jogi and his son Amit had conspired to kill the NCP leader, the case was being dismissed, the Judge said.
After acquitting Jogi, Tidke also dismissed a complaint case filed in the court by Satish, son of Jaggi, accusing the Congress leader of involvement in the murder of his father on June 4, 2003.
Satish had lodged an FIR against the then Chief Minister Jogi and his son Amit, accusing them of being behind the killing of his father.
After Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the state in December 2003, the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2004. The central agency had chargesheeted Amit and others in 2006 but not the senior Congress leader.
Subsequently, Jaggi's son had filed a complaint last year urging the court to also try Ajit Jogi in the murder case.
Based on the complaint, Jogi was arrested on March 19, 2007 when he was campaigning for the Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha by-poll. He was released on bail the next day by the court of Tidke.
On May 31, 2007, Special CBI Judge Tidke awarded life imprisonment to 19 of the 28 convicts. Two accused turned approver, while Amit Jogi, named main accused by the CBI, was acquitted.
Those convicted included four Congressmen and three police officers.
In its chargesheet, CBI had said Amit conspired to kill Jaggi ahead of the 2003 December Assembly election in Chhattisgarh, when his father was the Chief Minister, as NCP was becoming a formidable political force in the state.