The Karnataka High Court on Monday stayed the investigation of a case filed against YouTuber Ajeet Bharti by the Bengaluru Police for allegedly making false claims about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Bharti had claimed that Gandhi plans to replace the Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya with a new Babri mosque.

Justice M Nagaprasanna, while staying the case on Monday, observed that Bharti’s claim was based on newspaper reports about a statement by a former Congress leader.

“The petitioner is also tweeted with regard to such claim, it becomes a claim versus claim,” the court said. “Therefore, the genesis of the problem lies in the claim as afore-quoted, which has resulted in the tweet by the petitioner.”

Justice Nagaprasanna said that the investigation in the case could not proceed unless the truthfulness of the claims was verified.

The Ram temple is being built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists in December 1992 because they believed that it stood on the spot where the Hindu deity Ram was born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 was illegal, but handed over the land to a trust for a Ram temple to be constructed. At the same time, it directed that a five-acre plot in Ayodhya be allotted to Muslims for a mosque to be constructed.

On January 22, the Ram temple was inaugurated in a ceremony led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On June 15, the Karnataka police filed the first information report against Bharti on a complaint by BK Bopanna, the secretary of the Congress’ legal cell in Karnataka, where the party is in power.

Bopanna’s complaint was against a video that Bharti posted on X on Thursday. He described Bharti’s comments about Rahul Gandhi and the Ram temple as hate speech and a threat to public peace.

The YouTuber has been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to the promotion of enmity between groups on religious grounds and acting in a manner that is prejudicial to maintaining social harmony.

Bharti’s comments echo a claim made by Modi while campaigning for Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

At an election rally in Barabanki on May 17, Modi had alleged the Samajwadi Party and the Congress would “run a bulldozer” over the Ram temple if their Opposition alliance was voted to power in the general election.