The Uttar Pradesh police have invoked a massive 15 sections of the Indian Penal Code and three sections of the IT Act against a journalist and two others in Bijnor district over an alleged land grab case. The case was filed on a complaint by the brother of Champat Rai — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader and secretary of the Ram Temple Trust — who has been facing questions over the controversial land deals in Ayodhya. The Bijnor police chief has given Mr Rai and his brothers a ‘clean chit’ based on what he called a prime facie inquiry. Investigations are continuing, he said.
The First Information Report, based on a complaint by Mr Rai’s brother Sanjay Bansal, names journalist Vineet Narain and two others — Alka Lahoti and Rajnish.
All three are accused of conspiring to make false allegations against Mr Rai and in the process, hurting the sentiments of crores of Hindus across the country.
In a Facebook post three days ago, Mr Narain had accused Champat Rai of facilitating land grab by his brothers in their hometown in the Bijnor district.
In the post, Mr Narain accused Mr Rai of helping his brothers grab 20,000 square meters of land in a cow shelter owned by NRI Alka Lahoti (also named in the FIR).
The post claims Ms Lahoti has been trying to get the encroachers evicted since 2018 and appeals to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to take action.
In his complaint, Sanjay Bansal said he searched for the phone number of Mr Narain and then placed a call to him to clear the “facts of the case”.
“However, a man calling himself Rajnish picked up the phone, misbehaved with me and threatened to kill me,” he said in the complaint.
The FIR accuses Mr Narain and the others of “promoting enmity on the grounds of religion”, providing “false evidence”, “cheating” and “trespass” among other charges.
Less than a day after the FIR was filed, Bijnor’s police chief posted a video statement on Twitter seeming to support the version of Mr Bansal. He, however, added that a police team was still investigating the matter.
“The local police are investigating. Mr Champat Rai is a senior leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and a member of the Ram Temple Trust and the accusations against him by the accused are baseless and prima facie the accusations against his relatives are baseless too. We are ascertaining all the facts,” Bijnor police chief Dr Dharm Vir Singh said in the statement.
With inputs from NDTV