The Congress in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday said that it will move the High Court, a day after a special court rejected its state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu’s bail plea, PTI reported. Lallu has been accused of forging documents related to the buses that his party arranged to bring back stranded migrants to the state during the lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Lallu, who is a sitting Congress MLA from Tamukhi Raj Assembly constituency of Kushinagar district, has been in jail since May 21.
“We will move High Court in connection with the bail case of UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu,” state Congress media convener Lalan Kumar said. “We are likely to move the HC [High Court] tomorrow, as we are waiting for the copy of the order pertaining to rejection of his bail.”
On Monday, Special Judge PK Rai said that Lallu’s offences were serious in nature and there was enough evidence against him. Rai said that prima facie, his complicity was apparent. “At this state, when probe is still going on, there is no reason to enlarge him on bail,” the judge said.
Lallu’s lawyer had argued that there was no direct evidence against him, and Lallu was being harassed for political vendetta. However, District Government Counsel (Criminal) Manoj Tripathi said that Lallu was directly involved in the case.
Tripathi claimed that Lallu wrote a letter to the state home secretary after Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi offered 1,000 buses to the Adityanath-led government to ferry migrant workers. “Lallu, along with his accomplices sent a forged list of buses in a planned way in order to endanger the life of thousands of migrant workers,” Tripathi claimed. “Thus, he not only he created a disturbance in the functioning of the government officials and that too at the time of [the] coronavirus pandemic, but also tried to malign the image of the state government.”
On Saturday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party government over Lallu’s arrest. He said that keeping him in jail exposed the alleged anti-poor mindset of the Adityanath government.
Lallu was first arrested on May 20 for protesting on the Bharatpur-Agra highway against the UP government’s allegations that the list of buses provided by the Congress contained registration numbers of autorickshaws and cars. An Agra court had granted him bail but he was rearrested within hours in Lucknow in connection with another case related to the buses.
With businesses being shut and public transport suspended, several migrants were stranded across the country during the nationwide lockdown. Thousands of workers then began walking home, hitchhiking or looking for other modes of transport. Several died on their way in accidents.