New Delhi: BJP politician Lalji Tandon got a clean chit in the sari stampede case of Lucknow on Saturday. The court cleared Tandon of all the charges filed against him in the stampede case, which claimed lives of 21 women in 2004.
The Sari stampede took place on April 12 when hundreds of poor women assembled at Chandra Shekhar Park at Gole Market in Mahanagar to collect free saris.
The programme was organised under banner of the Nagrik Sewa Samiti to celebrate the birthday of Tandon who was also election manager of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The saris, which were to be distributed among the poor, were provided by Brijendra Murari, Manoj Singh and Dhyan Singh. Tandon too had visited the venue to distribute the saris among the women.
Minutes after Tandon left the venue, a stampede occurred there, claiming lives of 21 women and an infant.
The Chief Election Officer at Mahanagar police station filed an FIR against Tandon and the organiser Brijendra Murari Yadav on April 17, 2004. Special additional chief judicial magistrate Bal Mukund dismissed the protest application filed against the senior BJP leader and considered the final report (FR) filed by the police in the case as proper.
The police had filed an FIR on May 28, 2005 giving respite to Tandon.
However, the Election Commission petitioned the court on February 5, 2007 saying it was not satisfied with the police probe. Another person Chetram had also filed a protest application on March 13, 2006 claiming his wife had died in the stampede.
Chetram contended his wife lost her life due to Tandon and Yadav and as such, they were liable for criminal proceedings under section 171.
The stampede had taken place just before the 2004 general election, which the BJP-led NDA eventually lost.
With inputs from PTI