The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan has sacked Additional Advocate General Rajendra Yadav from his post after the High Court acquitted four Muslim men who had been sentenced to death in the 2008 Jaipur bomb blasts case, The Times of India reported.

On May 13, 2008, nine bombs had exploded within a span of 25 minutes at eight locations in Jaipur, killing 71 people and injuring 185.

Yadav had been handling the case in the High Court. On Wednesday, a division bench of Justices Pankaj Bhandari and Sameer Jain had observed that “there are clear-cut manipulations and fabrications in the material evidence”.

The bench had acquitted Mohammed Sarvar Azmi, Mohammed Saif, Saifurrehman Ansari and Mohammed Salman, who were given capital punishment in 2019 by a special court in Jaipur.

After the verdict, the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that the additional advocate general had not appeared in court for a long time and assigned the case to a subordinate lawyer. The Opposition party also accused the Congress of trying to avoid responsibility in the matter by sacking Yadav.

In its judgement, the High Court had said that the inquiry was “not fair” and observed that “nefarious means” were employed by investigating agencies.

“This case is a classic example of institutional failure resulting in botched/flawed/shoddy investigation,” the order read. “We fear this isn’t the first case to suffer due to failure of investigation agencies and if things are allowed to continue the way they are, this certainly won’t be the last case in which administration of justice is affected due to shoddy investigation.”

On Saturday, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced that his government will file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict. “It is the intention of the state government that the culprits should be given the harshest punishment,” he said.

Gehlot’s rival and former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot called for self-introspection by the home ministry and the law department.

“This is a very serious issue and I feel that inquiry should be conducted against those responsible and find out how this could happen,” he told reporters. “Someone must have been behind the blasts, no?”

Newly appointed Rajasthan BJP president CP Joshi claimed that the Congress government had “weakly argued” the case and the “appeasement of minorities” by the party led to the men being let off.

A BJP government headed by Vasundhara Raje was in power when the blasts took place in 2008. The chargesheets in the case were filed during Gehlot’s previous tenure as the chief minister between December 2008 and December 2013.