Union Minister Jayant Sinha, who was in July 2018 photographed felicitating the six accused involved in a mob lynching of a meat trader in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh, admitted that he and some other BJP leaders had provided financial assistance to pay the legal fees of those allegedly involved in the crime in June 2017.
“They (accused) came from a poor family. Their family members requested us to assist them financially in order to help them in hiring an able advocate. I, along with other members of the party (BJP) helped them in paying for the advocate’s fees,” Sinha said in an interview to BBC News Hindi.
Sinha was photographed felicitating the six accused, who after coming out on bail, were taken straight to Sinha’s residence in Hazaribagh where the union minister greeted them with garlands and sweets.
In the interview, Sinha also said the accused in the case were “innocent”. He, however, said he has sympathy for the victim’s family and condemns the lynching.
“I have great sympathy for the victims’ family. Whatever happened is tragic but the people who came to my house were innocent. You’ve made this assumption that they were the perpetrators. This assumption of yours is flawed.
“If anybody studies this case, thinks about it and reads the bail order of the High Court, it will be evident that the people who came to my house were innocent. And, when I talk about absolute justice, I mean that the victim should definitely be provided justice but the people who were innocent, punished wrongly and were sent to jail for a year should also be given proper justice,” he said.
Days after the meeting the accused, Sinha, however, expressed his “regret” after facing intense criticism.
“I have said many times that the matter is still sub judice. It won’t be fair to talk on this. Law will take its own course. We have always worked towards punishing the guilty and sparing the innocent,” Sinha had said.
“If by garlanding them (Ramgarh lynching case convicts) an impression has gone out that I support such vigilantism then I express regret over it,” he added.