THE GOVERNMENT’S counsel has filed a complaint with the Bulandshahr district magistrate alleging that the police’s “failure” to file a chargesheet within the stipulated 60 days against seven accused for allegedly uploading an objectionable video on Whatsapp in February, had led to them being granted bail.
Police, however, claimed they could not do so because a decision on prosecution sanction against the accused under IPC section 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 ) is still pending with the state government. Prosecution under this section requires prior government approval.
Tension had gripped Pahasu area on February 27 after the video went viral. Later, members of right wing organisations had also pelted stones at the house of a man who had been identified in the video by police.
An FIR was then lodged under IPC sections 153-A, 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and the IT Act at Pahasu police station. Police later arrested seven people, all of whom belong to Pahasu and work at a carpet factory in Hyderabad.
Police also invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against three of the accused. The case is being investigated by Bulandshahr’s Crime Branch. Assistant District Government Counsel (ADGC), Ravindra Kumar Sharma said, “Following police failure to file chargesheet in stipulated 60 days, four accused were granted bail from the lower court.”
The remaining accused got bail from session court on July 10, he added. They had moved sessions court after the lower court rejected their bail application. “The three accused, who got bail now, took ground that the lower court had already granted bail to four other accused. I have filed a complaint with the district magistrate seeking action against the investigating officer of the case for failing to file chargesheet in time,” said Sharma.
However, the investigating officer of the case, Inspector Viresh Yadav, said, “Chargesheet could not be filed because police have yet to get prosecution sanction against accused sought under IPC 153-A. The letter seeking prosecution sanction for six accused was sent in April while for one, it was sent this month.”
When asked about chargesheet not being filed in other charges in the case, Yadav said, “I got (charge of) the investigation four days ago. aIt was being investigated by someone else earlier.”
Police are yet to receive a forensic report of the cell phone of one of the accused, which had been sent for examination.
Yadav added that barring one, the remaining accused are still in jail. “Three could not come out of jail because NSA is invoked against them. Another three are yet to furnish documents to complete the formalities,” he said.
SSP, Bulandshahr, Muniraj G said, “Chargesheet cannot be filed separately on different charges. We will be sending a reminder to the state government soon to send the prosecution sanction against the accused. We will also challenge the bail granted to the accused.”