Lucknow, 29 May: After dithering for two weeks the UP government today filed an appeal in the court of district and sessions judge of Pilibhit, VK Mishra, challenging the acquittal of the BJP MP Varun Gandhi in two hate speech cases registered against him in March 2009. Both the appeals were admitted and are listed for hearing on 15 June. The court also issued notice to Varun Gandhi to appear before the court on 15 June.
Incidentally, the UP government filed the appeal only after a human rights organisation had filed an application in the court of the district and sessions judge of Pilibhit on 27 May, challenging the acquittal of Gandhi in both the cases. The district government counsel (DGC) on 27 May had questioned the maintainability of the application and prayed for its dismissal. The application moved by Assad Hayat, of Awami council for democracy and peace, is yet to be admitted by the court and is listed for hearing on 11 June. The DGC Abhay Saxena, who filed the appeal today, said the state has challenged the judgment of 27 February and 5 March, acquitting Gandhi in both the cases.
UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had announced on 15 May that the state government would challenge the acquittal of Gandhi in both the cases. The chief Judicial Magistrate of Pilibhit had acquitted Gandhi in both the cases in his judgment delivered on 27 February and 5 March respectively. The first case was registered at Kotwali police station Pilibhit while the second on which the judgment was delivered on 5 March, was registered in Barkhera police station of the Pilibhit district.
Assad Hayat, however said today that he has no faith on the appeal moved by the state today in the court of district judge and he will press for the admission of his application against the acquittal of Gandhi in the two cases of hate speech. “The appeal filed by the state government is a mere face saving tactic of the Samajwadi Party-led UP government. Varun Gandhi was acquitted in both the cases only with the tacit support of the state government so how can we trust the appeal filed by the government today”, said Assad Hayat adding “we could have trusted the appeal had the government sought an direction from the court to Varun Gandhi to give his voice sample and summon all those broadcasters and TV channels who had aired the hate speech of the BJP MP, in March 2009, during the parliament elections”.
Moreover Hayat said, “during the trial in the case the prosecution never produced the forensic expert as witness and his demand for the voice sample of Varun Gandhi, was never raised in the court by the governments counsel and ultimately the forensic expert was discharged by the court’’. Maintaining that the appeal filed today by the state government is a cover up exercise, Hayat said he will press for the admission of his application on 11 June.
A Tehelka sting investigation exposed that not only did Varun make the venomous speeches he is accused of, he compounded the original wrong by brazenly subverting the entire judicial process to get his name cleared. It exposed how witnesses were threatened or bribed by the police, testimonies were taken without the judge in court and thumbprints were put on documents written by police. Crucial witnesses – including the forensic expert — were not summoned by the public prosecutor; many were not even questioned.