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Dhanbad candidate Dulu Mahato faces cases, but he is no criminal: BJP

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Ranchi, Apr 1 (PTI) The BJP’s Jharkhand president Babulal Marandi on Monday said that it is true that the party’s Dhanbad Lok Sabha nominee Dulu Mahato is facing a number of cases but he is “not a criminal”, and the party stands by him.

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The assertion of Marandi came a day after an FIR was registered against Mahato under various IPC sections including 387(extortion), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) based on a complaint by Krishna Agarwal, Dhanbad unit president of the Marwari Sammelan.

Agarwal, a former BJP leader, accused the saffron party candidate and another person of threatening him for opposing Mahato’s candidature.

Marandi told reporters that mere charges do not make a person criminal.

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“When I was on Sankalp Yatra across Jharkhand, the then Hemant Soren government lodged FIRs in six places against me. Does that mean I am a criminal? Yes, there are cases against Mahato and they are pending in court,” Marandi said.

“Mahato is not a criminal. He is a BJP MLA and party candidate for Dhanbad Lok Sabha seat. The party stands by him,” said Marandi, a former chief minister of the state.

On Independent MLA Saryu Roy’s claim that Mahato was convicted in four cases, Marandi said that he (Roy) is not a judge.

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Had Mahato been sentenced to at least two years in jail, he would not have been eligible to contest the elections, the state BJP chief said.

Roy had on Sunday asserted that he had handed over a list of 49 cases against Mahato to the BJP, out of which he has been convicted in four. If all four cases are added, the total punishment period will be four and half years, he had claimed.

The BJP dropped Pashupati Nath Singh, who has been representing the Dhanbad seat since 2009, and fielded Baghmara MLA Dulu Mahato.

Voting will be held in Dhanbad will be held on May 25. PTI SAN SAN NN

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