THE SPECIAL Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 has filed a closure report in a case where BJP MLA Sangeet Singh Som was accused of allegedly sharing a video on Facebook, which triggered communal violence in the district and adjoining areas that claimed 62 lives.
“The closure report was filed earlier this week because Facebook’s headquarters in California could not provide the complete details, which could have helped in collecting evidence in the case. The closure report has been filed on the ground that no evidence could be found,” said Inspector Dharampal Tyagi, the investigating officer in the case.
Tyagi said the report was filed in a local court, which is yet to take cognisance.
UP Police sources said the SIT had been waiting for details from Facebook to substantiate allegations that the video circulated on social networking sites of two youths being assaulted had originated from the account of Som, MLA from Sardhana in Meerut.
The video was circulated two days after the killing of two youths — Sachin and Gaurav — allegedly in retaliation for the murder of Shahnawaz, a resident of Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar, on August 27, 2013. The video had this lines running across the clip: “Bhai Sahab Dekho Kya Hua Kawal Mein”.
Police, however, found that the video had originally been posted on social media two years earlier, and possibly not filmed in India.
Primary investigation found that the video was uploaded on YouTube by another accused, Shivam Kumar, and circulated widely allegedly after it was shared on Som’s Facebook account.
On August 29, 2013, an FIR was lodged at the City Kotwali police station against Som, Kumar and 229 unidentified persons under IPC sections 420 (forgery), 153-A (promoting enmity on religious grounds), 120-B (conspiracy) and section 66 of the Information Technology Act.
During investigation, police found that Kumar and Som had removed all details, including Friends lists, from their Facebook accounts. The 229 persons, who had “liked” the video, were also found to have removed their personal details from their accounts.
It was then that investigators sought information about the accounts of Shivam and Som from Facebook’s headquarters at Menlo Park in California through the CBI, the nodal agency. Sources said the investigators received “some information” from Facebook, but needed more details to proceed in the case. “We were regularly sending letters seeking coordination but all efforts went in vain,” said sources.