BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s ‘opium’ feast to be probed


Jaipur : A special court Monday asked the police to probe allegations that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh served opium laced drinks at a feast in his home in Jasol in Barmer district of Rajasthan.

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The special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act court in Jodhpur, dealing with drug related offences, was reacting to a complaint seeking action against Jaswant Singh, a former foreign and finance minister of India, and nine other leaders of the state’s ruling BJP for allegedly offering opium at the function on Oct 31.

“The court in its order has asked the Balotra police station to investigate the matter against Jaswant Singh and nine other leaders of his party and file a report soon,” counsel for the petitioner Om Prakash Bishnoi said.

Bishnoi, a resident of Jodhpur, had Nov 2 filed his complaint under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985.

The allegation has been denied by all the names mentioned in the complaint, including MP Raghuveer Singh Kaushal, Rajasthan ministers Narpat Singh Rajvi, Ghanshyam Tiwari and Madan Dilawar as well as party chief whip Mahaveer Prasad Jain.

“These charges are baseless. It is a controversy aimed at defaming us. We only had water mixed with ‘kesar’ (saffron),” said Jain, a prominent dissident voice in the party.

The feast, known as ‘riyan’ in this part of Rajasthan, was hosted by Jaswant Singh.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her loyalists were not invited for the feast.

“I am not aware was opium served by Jaswant Singh or not. But it is our tradition to welcome guests by offering opium through the palm,” said a resident of Jasol on the condition of anonymity.

The opposition Congress has already demanded an enquiry into the affair, which has once again highlighted the schisms in the BJP. Many of Raje’s detractors were present at the meeting.

“The government should look into it. If opium was served, then it becomes a serious matter as it is a crime under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,” said Congress leader K.C. Chaudhary.