Bengaluru-based journalist and former Amnesty International India head Aakar Patel recorded his statement with the Surat Crime Branch on Monday after getting anticipatory bail in a defamation complaint filed against him over a tweet on the Ghanchi community.
The complaint was filed by Purnesh Modi, who represents Surat City (West) in Gujarat Assembly, in July this year. Purnesh is also president of the Samast Gujarati Modhvanik Samaj.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Surat City Crime Branch) R R Sarvaiya said, “Aakar Patel came with anticipatory bail on Monday. We recorded his statements and later allowed him to go. We also told him to remain present at the Crime Branch whenever required.”
Patel, who could not be reached for a comment, has tweeted that he had also been asked to hand over his devices for “examination by the FSL (Forensic Science laboratory)” next week.
Patel had got anticipatory bail from the Surat Sessions court on Monday afternoon in the case registered by the Surat Crime Branch under IPC Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups), 295 (A) (intent to insult a class of people), 505(1), (b), (c) (public statement intent to cause fear among public) and 499 and 500 (defamation) following a complaint filed by Purnesh Modi against his tweets.
According to details mentioned in the police complaint, Purnesh stated that Patel, who is originally from Surat and is now based in Bengaluru, had on June 24 and June 27 tweeted on the Ghanchi community, to which Purnesh belongs, purportedly connecting it to the Sabarmati train carnage in Godhra on February 27, 2002.
Purnesh also mentioned that, people with Modi (Hindu Ghanchi) surname come from Modhvanik Samaj and are presently based in Gujarat. “The Ghanchi Muslims of Godhra involved in the attack on Sabarmati Express have no connection or relation with us. The accused had defamed the present Prime Minister of India and former Prime Ministers. The accused Aakar Patel had done this intentionally, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and entire Modi Ghanchi samaj for some unknown gain.”
The FIR stated, “The accused wanted to damage prevailing peace and harmony in the society by such tweets.”