The Uttar Pradesh government informed the Allahabad High Court Thursday that it had refused sanction for the prosecution of Yogi Adityanath, former Member of Parliament and the current Chief Minister, and others named in an FIR for allegedly inciting communal violence in Gorakhpur in 2007. Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who appeared before the bench comprising Justices Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Ramesh Sinha, filed an affidavit conveying the government’s decision. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Parvez Parvaz, complainant in one of the FIRs lodged after the 2007 incident. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for July 7.
S F A Naqvi, counsel for Parvaz, later said he had been granted time to file “an amendment application to challenge the refusal of sanction for prosecution”.
In its affidavit, the government said that sanction for prosecution under different IPC sections including 153 (A) — promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony — was refused because the CD, which was presented as the main evidence, had been “tampered” with. The government said this conclusion was reached by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in October 2014.
Advocate General Raghvendra Singh later said: “It has been submitted before the court that the order for sanction has been refused because in October 2014 itself the report by the CFSL had found that the CD, which was the main evidence in the case, was tampered. Even before this government was formed, the Legal Remembrancer had sought this (CFSL) report on October 18, 2016.”
Asked about the transfer of the case to some other agency as sought by the petitioner’s counsel, Singh said, “The investigation has been completed and the main evidence, the CD, has been found to have been tampered with. So what else remains in the case to be transferred?” Naqvi, counsel for the petitioner, said, “Our main petition was to transfer the case from the state police to some independent central agency and to take action against the person who did not facilitate lodging of the FIR in the initial stage. As per direction of the court, we will now file an amendment application.”
The incident dates back to January 27, 2007, a day after one Raj Kumar Agrahari was injured — and later died — in a clash between two groups during a Muharram procession. Parvez Parvaz, a former Gorakhpur journalist and activist, tried to lodge an FIR but the police turned him away. It was only after intervention of the High Court — on September 26, 2008 — that he was able to file an FIR at the Cantonment police station.
According to the FIR, Adityanath delivered speeches, allegedly seeking “revenge” for the death of the Hindu youth in the clash. Parvaz claimed to have videos of these speeches.
On July 10, 2015, the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) of the UP Police sought sanction for prosecution from the Akhilesh Yadav government against Adityanath, then an MP, former MLC Y D Singh, MLA Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, former BJP Mayor Anju Chaudhary and former minister Shiv Pratap Shukla.
In its affidavit filed in court, the government said the report of the CFSL, dated October 13, 2014, found that videos in the DVD were not original and had been “edited and tampered”. It also mentioned that voice samples were not directly taken from Adityanath. It said the samples were taken by the Pipraich station in-charge from some other speech of Adityanath.
Parvaz said he was hopeful that justice would be done. “I want to ask them why are they afraid of investigation. For the past 10 years, affidavits and counter affidavits were filed, mentioning the CD. But now the government says the same CD is questionable,” he said.