The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday slated August 14 for giving a final hearing and deciding plea by rebel Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma for annulment of sedition cases lodged against him by the Special Operation Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police.
A bench of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma deferred the hearing on Mr Sharma's petition after hearing preliminary arguments by the SOG's special counsel Siddharth Luthra and petitioner's counsel Mukul Rohatgi.
During the hearing, Mr Luthra argued that Mr Sarma's petition has become infructuous after the SOG on Tuesday transferred all three cases to Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau on legal advice that no case of sedition, as alleged in the FIRs, was made out and it only pertained to an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
So, Mr Sharma's plea to either quash the FIR lodged on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy under sections 124 A and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code or transfer the case to National Investigation Agency has become infructuous, argued Mr Luthra.
Mr Sharma's counsel and senior advocate Mr Rohatgi, however, argued that the FIRs were a result of political vendetta and false charges have been levelled against his client.
After hearing the two counsel, the court posted the matter for its further hearing and final disposal on August 13.
Mr Sharma, who belongs to the rebel Congress camp led by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, had moved the high court on July 28, challenging the FIR against him, seeking either its annulment or probe into it by the NIA.
The SOG had lodged the FIR under sedition and criminal conspiracy charges on a complaint by Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi after surfacing of three audio tapes, purportedly having conversations for toppling the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state.
The Congress has alleged that rebel MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma was heard talking to the Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in one of the tapes and one Sanjay Jain in another with the talks aimed at toppling the government.
Shortly before the court hearing on Tuesday, the SOG transferred all three FIRs lodged by it on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy to the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the state saying that, as per the legal advice, no case of sedition was sedition made out and they pertained to the charges of corruption.