Sedition case against celebs to be dropped

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MUZAFFARPUR/PATNA: Days after 49 celebrities were booked for sedition for writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing anguish over rising incidents of mob lynching, the Muzaffarpur police on Wednesday recommended closure of the case against them.
The FIR, filed last week on the orders of Muzaffarpur chief judicial magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari, had led to widespread outrage with eminent personalities expressing anguish. Film personalities Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aparna Sen, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap and Soumitra Chatterjee and authors Amit Chaudhuri and Ramachandra Guha were among those booked by the Muzaffarpur police.
On Tuesday, 185 other other personalities, including Naseeruddin Shah, Nayantara Sahgal, Mallika Sarabhai and Romila Thapar issued a statement endorsing the letter.
On Wednesday, Muzaffarpur SSP Manoj Kumar wrote to Bihar Police headquarters in Patna recommending the case closure and seeking action against the petitioner, Muzaffarpur civil court lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha, for providing false information.
SSP Manoj Kumar confirmed to TOI that he had sought closure of the sedition case.
“Yes, I have recommended closure of the case, finding it maliciously false during the course of investigation. The petitioner named some witnesses but he failed to produce them before the investigating officer. We have not found any evidence to go ahead with the sedition charges,” the SSP told TOI. He added that the investigating officer in the case will file the final report in the local court within a day or two.
Coming down heavily on petitioner Ojha, Kumar said: “It seems the case was filed without any rhyme or reason, and just to garner publicity.”
Jitendra Kumar, ADG (headquarters), said police had lodged the case following the CJM’s order. He said in a statement that the complainant could not even produce before the Muzaffarpur SSP the letter written by the 49 personalities to support his claim.
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi issued a statement on Wednesday evening clarifying that BJP and the Sangh Parivar had nothing to do with the petition filed against the 49 personalities.
“A serial litigant filed a complaint against 49 personalities in the state based on a newspaper clipping and added sedition charges to it. That complainant has lodged a total of 715 PILs, including those against former PM Manmohan Singh, actor Amitabh Bachchan as well as me,” Sushil Modi said.
Ojha had filed the petition in the CJM’s court on July 27 and CJM Tiwari passed an order on September 18 for lodging an FIR against the 49 personalities. The Muzaffarpur police filed the FIR last Thursday.

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