The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will hear Zee Hindustan anchor Rohit Ranjan’s plea tomorrow against the multiple cases filed against him, Live Law reported.
First information reports were filed against Ranjan in many states after Zee Hindustan aired a doctored video of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on July 1.
In the video, Gandhi made a comment about the Students’ Federation of India for attacking his Wayanad office on June 24. Gandhi described the attackers as children and said he had no ill-will against them, the Congress said.
Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the clip had been doctored to make it appear as if it was a comment about the killers of a tailor in Udaipur.
On Wednesday, as the court listed the matter for hearing on Thursday, Ranjan’s counsel Siddharth Luthra said that the petition was not yet filed, Live Law reported.
“We should have been told that the matter has not been filed,” the court said. “This is no ground. This court is going to take a very strong view. As AOR [advocate on record] you should have instructed your counsel.”
Luthra also informed the Supreme Court that Ranjan was arrested by the Noida Police on Tuesday and was released on bail later in the day, ANI reported. The Chhattisgarh Police want to arrest him now.
On Tuesday morning, high drama unfolded outside Ranjan’s home as police officers from Bharatiya Janata Party-led Uttar Pradesh and Congress-led Chhattisgarh fought to get Ranjan’s custody.
The Raipur Police alleged that they were obstructed by their Uttar Pradesh counterparts while they tried to arrest Ranjan.
Raipur Senior Superintendent of Police Prashant Agarwal on Wednesday said that the anchor is now absconding and the police are trying to trace him, The Times of India reported.
“Noida Police should have informed us as Raipur police team had gone to Sector 20 police station on Tuesday, asking for whereabouts of the accused,” he said. “But they did not tell us and in late evening released a press note stating that Ranjan was released on bail after initial interrogation.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said that the faceoff between the Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh police had become a cause of worry for the country.
“Such unfortunate events destroy the rule of law and affect the lives of common citizens,” she said. “Governments should work on this in a neutral and serious manner, which would allow citizens to live their lives free of tension and violence. For the sake of development, it is necessary to control anarchy and establish iron rule of law.”
The Congress’ head for media and publicity, Pawan Khera, on Monday said that a first information report was filed against Zee Hindustan as it was a “repeat offender”.
On July 2, the channel withdrew the doctored video of Gandhi and issued an apology.
But Khera said by the time it issued an apology, the “damage had already been done”.
Khera said that FIRs have been registered in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in connection with the doctored clip.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders had also shared the misleading video on social media, prompting the Congress to file complaints against two saffron party MPs Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Subrat Pathak and three others in Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.