The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday stayed investigation into an FIR registered against senior BJP leader and former chief minister Raman Singh and the party's national spokesperson Sambit Patra in connection with the alleged circulation of a fake toolkit. Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas granted interim relief after hearing writ petitions filed by Singh and Patra seeking for quashing of the FIRs, the petitioners' lawyer Vivek Sharma said.
On May 19, an FIR was lodged at Civil Lines Police Station here based on the complaint of Akash Sharma, the president of National Students' Union of India's (NSUI) Chhattisgarh unit, with the latter alleging that Singh, Patra and others had circulated fabricated content on social media platforms using a fake letterhead of the Congress by projecting it as a toolkit developed by the party.
During the hearing on the petitions on June 11, senior lawyers Mahesh Jethmalani, Ajay Burman and other counsels appeared for Singh and Patra, while senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi and state Advocate General Satish Chandra Verma argued for the state.
After the hearing, the HC had sought a reply on the issue from the state government within three weeks and reserved its order over grant of interim relief to petitioners. The order was delivered on Monday.
The HC, in separate orders, said, “if we see the face value of the FIR, no offence under Sections 504, 505(1)(b) and 505(1)(c) of IPC is made out as the averments of the FIR reflect that by the tweet of the petitioner, Congress men are aggravated which clearly indicates that no public peace or tranquility is being adversely affected and it is purely political rivalry between two political parties”.
“This, prima facie, establishes that present FIR has been registered with political motives,” the orders said, adding that "considering the facts of the case and from perusal of FIR, prima facie, no case is made out against the petitioner and criminal proceedings is manifestly attended against the petitioner with malafides or with political grudge".
The HC said considering the facts and circumstances of the case, "continuation of investigation on basis of FIR will be nothing but an abuse of process of law".
The HC said further investigation on the FIR shall remain stayed till the next hearing.