Lucknow, July 19 (IANS) A special court on Wednesday rejected a plea by lawyers of former Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati, an accused in a gang-rape case, for the removal of POCSO charges against him.
Special Court judge Uma Shanker Sharma fixed August 1 as the next date for hearing wherein evidence would be submitted against Prajapati.
The court also framed charges against the senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and six others under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The court also observed that a strong doubt was enough as an evidence and added that there were eyewitness accounts and other evidence as well against accused Gayatri Prajapati, Vikas Verma, Ashish Shukla, Ashok Tiwari and others in the chargesheet.
Keeping these things in mind, the court observed, revoking the charges under POCSO would not be correct.
Prajapati, one of the most powerful ministers in the previous Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh, is languishing in prison on gang-rape charges. He was given bail a few weeks ago but it was cancelled after a furore.
A committee formed by the Allahabad High Court to probe the granting of bail had discovered that the former minister was given bail by a judge set to retire a day later at a bribe fixed at around Rs 2 crore.