UP Govt council opposes plea against Varun Gandhi’s acquittal

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Rising star Varun Gandhi is the BJP’s youngest ever general secretary. Photo: Dijeshwar Singh
Photo: Dijeshwar Singh

Lucknow, May 27: Uttar Pradesh government counsel today opposed an appeal filed by a human rights organisation in the district and session court of Pilibhit against the acquittal of the Varun Gandhi in the hate speech case. The appeal was filed by Assad Hayat, representing Allahabad-based human rights organisation Awami council for democracy and peace.

Hayat today filed the appeal in the court of the district and sessions judge VK Mishra claiming to be a victim of the hate speech by Varun Gandhi during the 2009 Parliament election rally. The district government counsel (criminal) Abhay Saxena, along with the lawyer of Varun Gandhi, opposed the appeal. The government counsel said that Assad cannot claim to be a victim in the case so his appeal is not maintainable and should be dismissed. The case is listed for hearing on 29 May.

The two cases of hate speech against Varun Gandhi were registered in March 2009, during the Parliament elections. The then chief minister Mayawati had also slapped National Security Act (NSA) on the BJP MP from Pilibhit. Gandhi was acquitted by chief judicial magistrate court Pilibhit in both the cases on 27 February and 5 March respectively for lack of evidence as all the 14 witnesses, all government employees, had turned hostile.  The cases against Gandhi were lodged at Kotwali police station Pilibhit.

UP government on 15 May had announced to file an appeal against the order of the CJM court after the inaction on the part of the Akhilesh Yadav government was exposed by the media. So far no appeal has been filed by the UP government in both the cases. In the first case the appeal is time barred, since the 90-day time is over and in second case the appeal can be filed till 3 June.

Alleging tacit support by the government’s counsel to the BJP MP, Hayat said, “Before the CJM court delivered the 5 March judgment, I had prayed in the court for the collection of the voice sample of Varun Gandhi.” The government counsel had then also not pressed for this and subsequently, Varun Gandhi was acquitted.

The cases of hate speech were registered against Varun Gandhi, by the then District Magistrate Mahendra Agarwal. He turned hostile in the case. On 7 March 2009, Varun Gandhi had delivered hate speech against Muslims in Dalchand locality of Pilibhit. The district magistrate Mahendra Aggrawal had himself lodged a case against Varun Gandhi. It was clearly mentioned in his report that Varun Gandhi is used hate language against muslims. A case was registered under section 153A, 295A, 505(2) and Section 125 of the People’s representation Act.

In this case, Mahendra Aggrawal was the complainant and the witnesses were Zameer Alam, the then additional district magistrate of Pilibhit and 13 other police personals. All of them including the DM, ADM and policemen turned hostile in the court. Zameer Alam who had prepared the report of Varun Gandhi’s speech stated in the court that he did not see or hear any of Varun Gandhi’s meetings. Two other important witnesses Inspector Maniram Rao and Rajveer Singh too turned hostile.

A Tehelka sting investigation two weeks ago, 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.

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Special Correspondent (Lucknow)

Virendra Nath Bhatt is a post graduate in Economics. Started career as journalist in 1982, by contributing for a couple of Hindi dailies of Lucknow and Bareilly and also Jansatta of Delhi. Joined the English daily `The Pioneer in 1990 and later shifted to National Herald. After one year joined as correspondent for the Onlooker Magazine published from Bombay in 1991. In 1995 again joined The Pioneer in 1995 and worked till 2007. In December joined Indian Express Luck now. In September 2011 joined Tehelka. Bhatt has extensively covered parliament and assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1985 and also the Ramjanma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya and the movement for social justice – the social strife against the implementation of the Mandal commission report in August 1990.

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