The police in Chhattisgarh Capital Raipur have registered a First Information Report against former Chief Minister Raman Singh and Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra for allegedly forging the letterhead of Congress’ Research Department and printing “false and fabricated” content, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.
The FIR was filed based on a complaint filed by the state unit chief of Congress’ students’ body National Students’ Union of India. The complaint came after the party, on May 18, hit back at the BJP after several of its leaders, including Patra, claimed on Twitter that Congress had prepared a “toolkit”, or campaign material. BJP leaders claimed that the document was created to hurt the reputation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government over its handling of coronavirus management and the Central Vista project in Delhi.
Raipur Civil Lines Station House Officer RK Mishra said that both Singh and Patra have been summoned for further investigation into the matter. “Today [on Sunday], we have asked Sambit Patra to be present here in person or via video conference,” Mishra told ANI.
However, Patra failed to appear before Raipur Police on Sunday and sought a week’s time, The Wire reported, citing a response from the BJP leader’s lawyer.
“You must appreciate that it is not at all reasonable to expect my client to appear pursuant to your notice in such a short time,” Advocate Apoorv Kurup wrote to the Raipur Police. “Moreover, as my client is the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he is currently in the midst of coordinating several critical relief responses, including the approaching cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’.”
On Tuesday, the Congress had also asked the Delhi Police commissioner to file a complaint against Patra, BJP President JP Nadda and other party leaders on the charges of disseminating forged documents with the intent of creating “communal disharmony and civil unrest”. It also wrote to Twitter, seeking the suspension of the accounts of BJP leaders who spread the forged documents.
The Congress has consistently criticised the Centre for its handling of the coronavirus crisis in India. The party has also hit out at the government for going ahead with the multi-crore Central Vista construction project during the devastation caused by the coronavirus.