The High Court of Chhattisgarh has stayed the investigation into the FIR registered against BJP vice-president and former chief minister Raman Singh on a complaint that he circulated an alleged toolkit using a fake letterhead of the Congress.
Mr Singh had sought quashing of the FIR filed on a complaint by Akash Sharma, state president of Congress arm NSUI. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra is also an accused in the case.
In its order on Mr Singh’s plea, the bench of Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas said today that “present FIR has been registered with political motives” and that allowing the investigation to continue will be “nothing but an abuse of law”. The court granted the state government three weeks’ time to file a reply. The case will be heard next after four weeks.
Last month, several BJP leaders shared an alleged “Congress toolkit” and accused the party of trying to smear the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with tips like calling the India-dominant mutant the “India strain” or the “Modi strain”. The Congress called the “toolkit” fake and filed a police complaint for forgery against BJP president J P Nadda and others who shared it.
According to the high court order, Mr Singh has argued that the “toolkit” matter is being investigated by Delhi Police and added that he is not the author of the documents.
The petitioner, the order has said, also contended that no offence is made out under the sections relating to insult with intent to provoke breach of peace. He has also said that this is a “political clash” between two rival parties and that the statement “falls within the ambit of freedom of speech”.
Responding to Mr Singh’s argument on the Delhi Police probe, the state government’s counsel said the petitioner cannot claim that the investigation be conducted as per his choice and that the state police is free to probe the matter.
The court said that prima facie, no case is made out against Mr Singh and “criminal proceedings is manifestly attended against the petitioner with malafides or with political grudge”.
“…I am of the view that the petitioner has made out a strong case of grant of stay, as continuation of investigation on basis of FIR dated 19.05.2021 will be nothing but an abuse of process of law,” the judge said in the order.