(Repeating yesterday's DR 103 for all needing)

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Jodhpur, Aug 13 (UNI) A local court today dismissed a protest petition filed against a clean chit by an investigation agency to former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh and nine other prominent BJP leaders in the infamous opium case.

The Rajasthan Police CID Crime branch had given a clean chit and final report (FR) in favour of Jaswant Singh and nine other prominent BJP leaders in alleged serving and tasting of opium during a socio-religious ceremony at Mr Singh's native village in Barmer district last year.

The NDPS Act Special Court Judge B S Kumawat delivered order today dismissing the petition filed by O P Bishnoi on July 30, challenging the FR and clean chit granted by the investigation agency in favour of the ten leaders.

The court which had heard the case on August 4 last and reserved the order, held that the FR submitted by investigators was appropriate and in order and the clean chit given to the accused was justified.

During arguments on August 4, respondent Rajasthan Police had defended the FR saying that no prima facie case of offering and/or tasting opium was found against the accused while petitioner Mr Vishnoi had alleged that the investigators had failed to record free and impartial statements of the witnesses and conduct FSL tests of vessels which were used in preparing ''opium solution'' for the function.

As per the case history, former External Affairs Minister Mr Singh had hosted a socio-religious ceremony at his native village Jasol in Barmer district in October last year and allegedly offered opium to guests who included Rajasthan Ministers Ghanshyam Tiwari, Narpat Singh Rajvi and Madan Dilawar, Government Chief Whip Mahavir Prasad Jain, BJP MPs Kailash Meghwal, Raghubir Singh Kaushal and Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi and sitting BJP MLAs Jogeshwar Garg and Shankar Singh Rajpurohit.

The function was held at a time when dissidents' activities in ruling BJP were at its peak and all the above leaders did symbolise as dissidents in the BJP politics in the state.

An FIR in connection with the above case was lodged at the Balotra police station in Barmer district on a complaint from Mr Vishnoi and later the case was transferred to CID Crime branch which had recently filed a final report giving clean chit to the above 10 accused.

UNI SS MP KN0918

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