Pilibhit: Varun Gandhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee for the Pilibhit Lok Sabha seat, faced fresh charges on Sunday, including attempt to murder. The charges were in connection with Saturday’s violence involving his supporters around the district jail following his arrest.
Varun’s mother Maneka Gandhi visited the district jail where the BJP candidate has been lodged and alleged that the registration of cases was part of a “political conspiracy”.
Coming to the defence of her son, who was arrested after he surrendered amid high drama, Maneka said the cases were “frivolous”.
Besides being booked under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (attempt to murder), the 29-year-old was also charged under sections 147, 148 and 149 (rioting and related offences), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 336 (doing any act that endangers human life or the personal safety of others). Varun also faced charges under certain sections of the IPC relating to public safety and certain state acts after his supporters clashed with the police, officials said. Sunday’s charges came on top of earlier charges of “inciting religious hatred” in his alleged anti-Muslim speeches.
High drama: Varun Gandhi. Adnan Abidi / Reuters
Varun, along with Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Kalraj Mishra, MLA Sukhlal and former party MLA B.K. Gupta, have also been named in another FIR registered for violation of prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on Saturday when the BJP candidate courted arrest in a case related to his alleged anti-Muslim speeches.
In New Delhi, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on Sunday said the party’s decision to reject the Election Commission’s advice not to field Varun is in accordance with the law and the Constitution. However, he disassociated the party from the content of the hate speeches purported to have been made by Varun, who had said the tapes were “doctored”.