SC to hear Zee News Anchor’s plea tomorrow against multiple FIRs over 'doctored video' of Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi, July 06: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan's plea seeking urgent hearing against the multiple FIRs. The case has been listed for hearing on Thursday.
The FIR was registered against him following the broadcast of a misleading video on Rahul Gandhi for which the channel had issued an apology.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra mentioned the matter before a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari for urgent listing.
Luthra submitted that the anchor made an error during a show and he later apologised for it. However, multiple FIRs have been registered against him over the show. He added that the Chhattisgarh police is trying to arrest him and that the Noida police had arrested him yesterday and releasd on bail.
After the bench passed the order for listing tomorrow, the Advocate on Record clarified that the petition is yet to be filed. This made the bench upset.
After around 12 hours of questioning, the Gautam Buddha Nagar Police released TV anchor Ranjan on bail, late on Tuesday night.
The Gautam Buddh Nagar Police media cell said that following the interrogation, Ranjan was arrested on the basis of evidence but released on bail as the sections against him are bailable offences.
Earlier in the day, a team from Chhattisgarh Police had arrived at Ranjan's residence in Ghaziabad's Indirapuram area to arrest him.
The FIR in Raipur was lodged under IPC sections including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), 467 (forgery), 469 (forgery to harm reputation), 504 (intentional insult). Officials said these are more serious charges than the case lodged by the Noida police.
On July 2, a day after the video was aired, Ranjan had apologised for mistakenly playing Gandhi's statement out of context by linking it with the Udaipur murder case. "It was a human error for which our team is apologetic. We apologise for it," he had tweeted in Hindi.
However, the video was used by several people, including BJP leaders, to attack Gandhi and the Congress party after the Udaipur murder on June 28. The assailants in Udaipur purportedly admitted their crime in a video clip, saying it was meant to avenge an insult to Islam.
FIRs have been lodged in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur and Raipur, in UP's Noida, and in Rajasthan in connection with Gandhi's doctored video.
Congress legislator Yadav, whose FIR in Raipur led to the Chhattisgarh police action, has also accused the director and chairman of Zee News, its chief executive officer for conspiring to spread fabricated and fake news against Gandhi in a bid to incite communal riots and disturb social harmony, a police official said.