The Samajwadi Party-led Uttar Pradesh government is sitting on the high-profile cases of hate speech against BJP president Amit Shah.
Eight months after a Muzaffarnagar court refused to take cognisance of the police charge sheet against Mr. Shah while asking it to complete the investigation and file a revised version, the police is yet to complete the probe.
The police had in September charged Mr. Shah with violating model code of conduct by allegedly delivering an “objectionable” speech and allegedly seeking votes on the ground of religion, race, caste and community during campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Bijnore.
Out of the three cases of hate speech filed against Mr. Shah, the police had attempted to file the charge sheet only on the Muzaffarnagar speech just ahead of the by-polls last year. In the two other cases, investigation is “still going on.”
Officially, the cases are under “investigation.” The senior superintendent of police Kishan Bahadur Singh told The Hindu that the “police are looking into the matter.”
Even the former investigating officer, sub-inspector Bharat Lal refused to talk about the reasons for his transfer. He was transferred after the charge sheet he had filed against Mr. Shah was returned by the court which termed it “erroneous” and incomplete.
A police official in Muzaffarnagar told The Hindu on condition of anonymity: “It is a politically very important case. The administration can’t do any thing unless there is a green signal from the higher echelons of the law and order and the ruling dispensation to take the final move.”Eye on polls
“Elections are a year-and-a-half away. Let’s see how the political and communal atmosphere would be like then. The case may not see much progress because there is a possibility that the SP may not want the BJP to politically play the victim card over this issue ahead of the polls and polarise voters,” he added.
A reliable source told The Hindu that “one should not be surprised if Mr. Shah gets a clean chit.” Explaining the reasons for the rejection of the charge sheet a senior police official said: “The initial investigation was incomplete. That’s what the court said while sending the charge sheet back to the police.”
“Somewhere the context was lost because the entire speech was not seen by the police while preparing it. Now we are trying to fully examine the context of the speech to find out whether it was hate speech in the first place or it was something else,” the official added.
Inspector General of Police (Meerut Zone) Alok Sharma, however, denied any political pressure or interference. “Investigation is going on. For us there is no high-profile case. It is like any other criminal case.”
Police had charged Mr. Shah under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including, 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, etc.), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class) and 505 (false statement, rumour, etc. circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or offence against the public peace).