Hyderabad: Sedition case against trio to be closed as Republic TV didn’t submit raw tapes on ‘sting’

Three men were booked for sedition after the news channel had aired clips in which they can purportedly be heard pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State.

The Hyderabad Police have decided to close a sedition case against three men, nearly a year after news channel Republic TV aired a supposed sting operation in which the trio purportedly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State group, The Indian Express reported on Monday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detective Department, Central Crime Station) Avinash Mohanty told the newspaper that Republic TV had not submitted the unedited versions of the clips despite several requests. He said the channel had also refused to turn in the original devices used to record the conversations with the three men.

Republic TV aired the footage on May 16, 2017. In the videos, Abdullah Basith, Salman Mohiuddin and Abdul Hanan Qureshi – who were detained earlier on their way to join the Islamic State group and later released – can purportedly be heard saying they were ready to join the terror outfit and also plan attacks in India if they failed to reach Syria.

Based on these clips, a Special Investigation Team of the Hyderabad Police had registered a case against the three, charging them with sedition and waging war against the state as well as under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. When they were questioned, the trio claimed that Republic TV had taken their statements out of context and only aired portions in which they were seen talking about the Islamic State group.

“So we sought the unedited tapes from Republic TV to understand the context and gave them enough time,” the deputy commissioner of police told The Indian Express. “But they did not respond, so we referred the case to the court [to file a closure report].”

Republic TV “categorically denied” these allegations and said it had “physically handed over the entire unedited footage of the sting operation to the Hyderabad Police”

“Our reporter also offered, in writing, that her statement be recorded by the Hyderabad Police,” the news channel said in an email to The Indian Express. “If the Hyderabad Police does not want to act against radicalised elements, it is their concern and a matter of public concern as well.’’

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