A top BJP leader in west Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr has been photographed handing out a certificate to a man accused of conspiracy in the murder of a police officer in mob violence in the district in 2018.
BJP's Bulandshahr president Anil Sisodia was the chief guest at an event on July 14 organised by the "Pradhan Mantri Jan Kalyankari Yogi Jagrukta Abhiyan", an organisation that says it publicises central government schemes across the country and claims to have top BJP leaders as its mentors.
In the widely circulated photograph, Mr Sisodia is handing out a certificate to Shikhar Agarwal, the former chief of the local BJP youth wing, accused of conspiracy in the murder of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh in Bulandshahr in 2018.
Agarwal is currently out on bail.
The certificate given to Agarwal pronounces him a "general secretary" of the organisation.
In 2018, inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was attacked by a mob of some 400 people when he went to restore calm in the area after violence erupted over rumours of illegal cow slaughter.
The police said a man armed with an axe chopped off two of his fingers and hit the policemen on the head. Others shot him. His body was found inside his official police vehicle, abandoned in a field.
"The organisation has nothing to do with the BJP. I was only invited as a chief guest," said Mr Sisodia over the phone.
"I found out now that the person was someone called Shikhar Agarwal. That organisation has nothing to do with the party. I merely went there as a guest. As a party we only promote politics of purity and even that organisation should ensure whoever they associate with fulfil this criteria," Mr Sisodia said later.
An official of the BJP's Bulandshahr unit, Sanjeev Agarwal, also tweeted the "BJP or other officials have nothing to do with this institution". "The nomination was done under the Prime Minister's public awareness campaign committee and BJP district president Anil Sisodia was a chief guest. The BJP or other officials have nothing to do with this institution," Sanjeev Agarwal tweeted.
In August 2019, seven of the 33 men accused of inciting violence and rioting in the case, including Shikhar Agarwal, were granted bail.
They were welcomed with garlands and chants of "Jai Shri Ram" by right-wing activists on their release from jail, sparking a controversy.
"Making allegations is one thing, proving a case is different. I have never done anything wrong in my life," Shikhar Agarwal said in a statement later.