Rajasthan Police, in Noida to arrest journalist Chopra, returns empty-handed
The Rajasthan Police, which arrived in Noida on Sunday to arrest TV news anchor Aman Chopra, had to return empty-handed as he reportedly was not home. Three FIRs were registered against Chopra in the Bundi, Alwar, and Dungarpur districts of Rajasthan. Chopra allegedly claimed in one of his shows that a centuries-old temple in Alwar was demolished to avenge Delhi's Jahangirpuri anti-encroachment drive.
Why does this story matter?
Amid a spate of communal incidents, three temples and some shops were reportedly demolished in Alwar on April 17 as part of an anti-encroachment drive. Meanwhile, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation carried out a similar drive in Delhi's Jahangirpuri on April 20 and the gate of a mosque was also razed. Notably, Jahangirpuri had witnessed communal clashes during a Hanuman Jayanti (April 16) procession.
What did Chopra claim on his show?
In one of his shows aired on April 22, Chopra claimed, "It is such a big coincidence...two days after a bulldozer was used to demolish the gate of a mosque in Delhi's Jahangirpuri, three temples were demolished in Alwar." "One of the temples is 300 years old. Is this a mere coincidence or...revenge for Jahangirpuri?" he added. He also posted the same on Twitter.
Congress worker registered first FIR in Dungarpur
Congress worker Krishna Raj Singhal registered the first FIR in Bichwada Police Station in Dungarpur on April 23. The second FIR was registered in Bundi on April 23, and the third in Alwar the next day. The FIRs were registered under various IPC Sections pertaining to sedition, outraging religious sentiments, and promoting enmity between two groups and under the IT Act, the police said.
Court granted 'protection from arrest' in 2 of 3 cases
Chopra had filed a petition in the Rajasthan HC seeking the quashing of the three FIRs. His petition also said the criminal investigation of the second and third FIRs must not be allowed. High drama played out on Sunday after Chopra got relief from the court in two cases filed in Bundi and Alwar but still faced arrest in the first case—lodged in Dungarpur.
What Rajasthan High Court observed
Justice Birendra Kumar of the Rajasthan HC observed that "the subsequent FIRs for the same cause of action and their investigation are itself not sustainable/permissible." "In view of the judgments of the Supreme Court (supra), there is no question that petitioner need not get protection from being arrested in these [Alwar and Bundi] cases," added Kumar.
Rajasthan Police claimed Noida Police didn't fully cooperate
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Police accused the Noida Police of making them wait for long, which allowed Chopra to escape on Sunday. Dungarpur SP Sudhir Joshi said the Noida Police was informed about the case, however, they were asked to wait before acting on the arrest warrant. On April 28, too, a Rajasthan Police team had visited Chopra's Noida office but he wasn't found there.
Noida Police refutes Rajasthan counterpart's 'non-cooperation' claim
Vehemently refuting the claims by the Rajasthan Police, Bisrakh (Noida) Station House Officer Umesh Bahadur Singh said, "Due process was carried out." "The action was to be taken by the Rajasthan Police and not the UP Police... We helped them in issuing the notice, and identifying the location and there was no hindrance from our side," Additional DCP (Central Noida) Elamaran G said.