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AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi acquitted in hate speech cases

Akbaruddin Owaisi, floor leader of AIMIM in the Telangana Legislative Assembly, facing cases for his alleged hate speeches, was present in the court when the judgement on his acquittal was delivered.

AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi (Express Photo by Kevin D'souza)

All India Majlis-e-ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) floor leader and MLA, Akbaruddin Owaisi, was Wednesday acquitted of all charges against him in connection with two hate speeches he allegedly delivered in December 2012. The special sessions court for the trial of MPs/MLAs  found the evidence provided by the prosecution insufficient and gave Owaisi the benefit of doubt.

The cases pertain to his controversial speeches delivered in Nizamabad on December 8, 2012, and at Nirmal town on December 22, 2012. He was arrested in January 2013, first in connection with the speech he delivered at Nirmal, and later shown as arrested in the second hate speech case too. He secured bail after spending a month in prison.

During the hearing, the Chandrayangutta MLA had denied all allegations levelled against him in cases registered at Nirmal town and Nizamabad district in 2013. Owaisi was charged under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of IPC.

The Nirmal police and the Crime Investigation Department (CID) investigated the two cases and submitted the charge sheet in 2016. As many as 41 witnesses were examined in the Nizamabad case, whereas 33 people were examined in the Nirmal case. The arguments concluded on April 17 and the final judgment was posted for April 12 but was postponed to April 13.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, MA Azeem, counsel for Akbar Owaisi, said that the court observed that the evidence produced was not sufficient and the benefit of the doubt has been given to the accused. According to him, the report of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) produced by the prosecution was not supported or corroborated by other evidence, including technical evidence which was produced by the prosecution. “Only after going through the judgment copy can we know more. The FSL report, as per law, is only an opinion of an expert that can be used for corroboration to help the prosecution, but mainly a court cannot convict or acquit an accused based on FSL evidence,” he said.

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The defence counsel also added that the eyewitnesses could not corroborate the prosecution’s argument. “There were two eyewitnesses in each case. They gave statements against the accused but the statements of those two are contradictory to each other. Moreover, these witnesses kept quiet for one month and did not lodge a report. Though the police registered a case a few days after the incident, these witnesses came to the police only after a month. Also, all the witnesses have political backgrounds and so they had inimical terms with the accused,” the counsel explained.

First published on: 13-04-2022 at 03:42:43 pm
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