The Supreme Court on Monday, October 21, stayed the ongoing criminal trial in the alleged sex CD case involving Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel as an accused.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer also issued a notice to Baghel on a plea of probe agency CBI seeking transfer of the criminal case out of Chhattisgarh on grounds including that the chief minister has been allegedly threatening the witnesses in the case. The CBI had registered a case against Baghel in September 2018, then Chhattisgarh Congress president on a complaint that he had allegedly tried to frame the then state PWD minister and BJP leader Rajesh Munat in the fake sex CD case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI said that two prosecution witnesses have lodged complaints with the probe agency that they have been threatened at the behest of accused for giving statement against the chief minister in the case.
Baghel was earlier jailed for a period of 14 days by a CBI court and at the time he had said that he is innocent and would start a satyagraha in jail. He was then given bail in September 2018 by a special CBI court whilst he was still the Chief of the Chattisgarh Congress Chief. A BJP leader, Kailash Muraraka was also named in the charge sheet and he was sacked soon after by the party. The BJP demanded Congress to sack Baghel but the party has stood by its leader.
The incident developments took place just a few weeks before the Chhatisgarh Assembly polls, which the Congress party and Baghel fought strongly to win the elections. Bhupesh Baghel went on to become the Chief Minister of the State and was sworn in as CM on December 17th.