‘Hate speech’: Varun acquitted as witnesses turn hostile


A PILIBHIT court on Wednesday acquitted BJP MP Varun Gandhi in one of the two cases of making hate speeches which were registered against him during the 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign and for which the Mayawati government had detained him under the National Security Act.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Abdul Quaiyum acquitted Varun Gandhi because witnesses from the public turned hostile, said prosecuting officer N P Verma. There were a total of 13 witnesses, of whom seven were from public. "In the court, no public witness supported the prosecution theory and we declared them hostile," said Verma. He said that except the statements of witnesses, there was no other evidence against Varun Gandhi.

The case was lodged on March 18, 2009, at the Pilibhit Kotwali police station after Varun Gandhi allegedly made an inflammatory speech with communal overtones at Dal Chand locality.

The FIR was lodged on charges which included promoting enmity on religious grounds and committing deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage any class by insulting its religion. The police filed the chargesheet in December, 2010.

Another case against Varun Gandhi for delivering an inflammatory speech was lodged at the Barkhera police station on March 17. This case was registered after he allegedly made an inflammatory speech during a public meeting organised at Kasba Barkhera on March 8, 2009. In this case, the police filed the chargesheet in July, 2009.

Varun claimed that the audio recordings of his speeches had been 'doctored' as part of a 'political conspiracy'. Nevertheless, he surrendered at a local court in Pilibhit where he was remanded to judicial custody. While he was being taken to jail, his supporters allegedly attacked the police and pelted stones. This led to a third FIR on March 28, 2009. The two other cases are still pending in court.

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