On January 28, 2020, the High Court Single bench judge Justice R. C. S. Samant issued notices to the Economic Offenses Investigation Unit (EOW) and the state government and directed them to present the papers in their support. As Ashok Sharma has filed review petition against Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel on the accusation of illegally acquiring the land of poor in Arpa Sada, Bilaspur.
As per the petitioners, in 1995 Bhupesh Baghel was the MLA of Patan constituency when he used his political power and position to persuade officers to help him in illegally acquiring land of the poor in Bhilai Arpa Sada, Bilaspur. The engineers of Arpa Sada allegedly helped him to process the application and identified two plots reserved for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and allotted 4000 sq. ft. land to Baghel’s mother and 4000 sq. ft. land to his wife.
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in India is a subcategory of people belonging to the General Category having an annual family income less than ₹8 lakhs and who do not belong to any reserved category such as SC/ST/OBC (central list). If a candidate who doesn't fall under castes recognised as SC/ST/OBC by the Govt. of India & doesn't avail any form of reservations (except horizontal reservations like ExS, PwD, etc.) & his/her annual family income is above the prescribed limit of ₹8 lakhs by Government of India (or as prescribed by state govt in the respective states), then he/she will be recognised as a candidate from General category and not from EWS category.
Ashok Sharma and Vijay Baghel (now BJP MP) had lodged a complaint at the EOW after the information on the allocation of land. After investigation, upon finding the complaint filed by the petitioners to be genuine and correct, the EOW filed an FIR against the applicants.
Petitioners also mentioned in their petition that in 2018, Congress party won State Election and Bhupesh Baghel became the CM, after which he used his power to cancel First Information Report (FIR) filed by the EOW and got the investigation stopped. He then presented Closure report of Economic Offence Wing (EOW) in Lower Court after which he was acquitted.
The next hearing will take place on 17 February, 2020.
Author – Satwik Sharma