Raipur, Feb 7 (PTI) A court in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur district Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of former chief minister Raman Singh’s son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta and BJP leader Maturam Pawar in a case related to the alleged fixing of the 2014 Antagarh bypoll.

Gupta and Pawar had filed pre-arrest bail applications after the Raipur police lodged a case against them on February 3 based on a complaint by Congress leader Kiranmayee Nayak, their lawyer Hitendra Tiwari told PTI.

The bail pleas were rejected by Additional District and Session Judge Vivek Kumar Verma, he added.

Tiwari and another lawyer, Kamlesh Pandey, who appeared for Gupta and Pawar, said they contended in the court that the FIR was lodged under pressure from the newly elected Congress government.

Additional Advocate General and Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Satish Chandra Verma told the court that the crime was very serious as a huge amount of money had exchanged hands and contended that anticipatory bail should not be given to the accused as they can influence the investigation process.

After hearing the arguments, the court observed that the case was at the stage of preliminary investigation and therefore the accused were not entitled to anticipatory bail, the special public prosecutor said.

The case was registered at the Pandri police station on Sunday night against Dr Gupta, Pawar, former chief minister Ajit Jogi, his son Amit Jogi and BJP leader and former minister Rajesh Munat.

They were booked under IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) 420 (cheating), 171E (punishment for bribery), 171F (undue influence at election), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and sections 9 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

In 2015-16, an audio CD was leaked which had purported conversations suggesting an exchange of money to make Manturam Pawar, Congress candidate in the 2014 Antagarh bypoll in Kanker district, withdraw at the last minute to facilitate the BJP candidate’s victory.

The bypoll was won by BJP’s Bhojraj Nag. Pawar, who had pulled out a day before the last date for withdrawal, was subsequently expelled from the Congress.

The audio tape suggested that his withdrawal was at the behest of the BJP and facilitated by Ajit Jogi.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.