Patna/Muzaffarpur, Oct 09: The Bihar police has ordered closure of a sedition case lodged against nearly 50 celebrities, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam and Anurag Kashyap, and the complainant would be prosecuted for levelling "false" allegations, a top police official said.
The development comes after a number of opposition leaders and prominent personalities condemned the filing of the FIR last week on the complainant by a Muzaffarpur-based advocate against the celebrities who had signed an open letter seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in "rising incidents" of mob lynching across the country.
The Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters), Jitendra Kumar, said on Wednesday the case was lodged at Muzaffarpur in the wake of the Chief Judicial Magistrate's order under Section 156(3) of the CrPC.
Under the provision, the police had "no option but to register a case under sections which the reading of the complaint discloses", he said.
The ADG said the matter was supervised by SSP Muzaffarpur. "The complainant could not produce supporting documents or evidence, not even the alleged letter written by the 49 persons, which may support his claim of commission of any offence," he said.
"On this and other circumstantial basis, the case is found to be false and order has been issued by him to investigating officer to submit Final Report- False. Along with this, finding this to be an intentional purpose of complainant, prosecution under sections 182 and 211 (of the IPC) will be submitted against complainant for lodging a false case," the ADG added.
Those named as accused by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha, who had filed the petition on July 23, also included historian Ramachandra Guha, actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sena and Revathi and light classical singer Shubha Mudgal.
Bollywood personalities Kangana Ranaut, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri who were critical of the open letter were named as "witnesses".
The FIR was lodged at the Sadar police station upon receipt of an order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari in August.
The filing of the FIR evoked criticisms from top opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi even as close to 200 celebrities this time including historian Romila Thapar and actor Naseeruddin Shah among others came out with another open letter asking how an appeal to the Prime Minister could be construed as seditious.
Last week, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's intervention was sought by his former associate and RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary who pointed out that Guha, named as an accused, was among those intellectuals who have lavished praise on the JD(U) chief.
An embarrassed Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, who is also a senior BJP leader, came out with a statement earlier in the day clarifying that his party or the Sangh Parivar did not have anything to do with the sedition case.
The Deputy CM also dubbed Ojha, whom he did not mention by name, a "serial litigant" by whom he was also named as accused in a case a few years ago.
Sushil Modi, however, also attacked the "award wapsi and tukde-tukde gangs" for trying to take advantage of the episode to allege that the Modi government at the Centre was throttling freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, Ojha remained unfazed when he was approached by journalists after the Police Headquarters came out with its statement.
"Any number of petitions have been filed on the basis of my complaints and these have been pending for as long as 10 years. I wonder how the police came to a conclusion in this matter in just a few days. I will file a petition against the police," the maverick lawyer declared.
Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.
Ranchi, Oct 18: Having lost nine successive tosses in Asia, an exasperated South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won't mind sending "someone else" in his place for the toss of the coin in the third and final Test against India, beginning here Saturday.
South Africa have struggled in Indian conditions and not winning the toss in the first two Tests has only made things tougher for them. Opting to bat in Visakhapatnam and Pune, India put up 500-plus totals to virtually bat the visitors out of the game.
"We really want to make sure that we compete with this team in their own conditions. We have done it in stages in the first Test. So, hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow.
"Probably we will change... send someone else to the toss tomorrow. I can give you that... because my records so far has not been great," said du Plessis, in a lighter vein, on the eve of the game.
Du Plesiss said "anything is possible" if his side get to bat first.
"If you put big runs in the first innings, that's where it need to stop. Then anything from there is possible. Hopefully that will unfold in the next couple of days and hopefully we can put some runs on.
"The pitch looks a little bit drier and crustier so first innings runs will be vital and then anything from there is possible in the second innings," the South African skipper added.