‘No Coercive Action’: Interim Relief for Twitter MD in Loni Case

The HC directed Ghaziabad Police not to take any coercive steps against him and listed the next hearing on 29 June.

2 min read

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday, 24 June, granted interim relief to Twitter Managing Director Manish Maheshwari in connection with the charges of 'provoking communal unrest' that had been levelled against the micro-blogging platform last week by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

The court directed Ghaziabad Police not to take any coercive steps against him and listed the next hearing on 29 June. Case of petitioner is that in response to section 160 notice, he has replied. Now notice under section 41A issued, virtually putting him in the shoes of an accused,” observed the HC.

The Uttar Pradesh Police on 17 June had sent a legal notice to Twitter India's Managing Director Maheshwari, for provoking communal disharmony over the alleged assault on a Muslim man in the state's Loni district earlier in June.

A video of the violent incident had gone viral on social media, and appeared to depict a hate crime against an elderly Muslim man.

The police, however, had stated subsequently that the incident had wrongfully been given a communal colour.

Maheshwari was expected to arrive at the Loni police station along with his lawyer at 10:30 am on Thursday, as per a Hindustan Times report.

However, Maheshwari did not arrive at the police station in the morning, reported PTI, quoting Atul Sonkar, the Circle Officer.

The police had reportedly prepared a list of 11 questions for the Twitter India chief, including ones that require his statement over the platform's failure to remove the contentious video, and the actions taken by the company to ameliorate its impact.

What Has Happened So Far

Twitter, in a first such case against it, was named in an FIR by the Ghaziabad Police, which accused the social media platform of not deleting tweets with regard to an incident involving a 72-year-old Muslim elderly man, Abdul Samad Saifi, being brutally thrashed in Ghaziabad’s Loni.

The legal notice was sent by the UP Police on 17 June, a day after Delhi-based lawyer Amit Acharya filed a criminal complaint against actor Swara Bhasker, journalist Arfa Khanum, Twitter India Head Maheswari, and Md Asif Khan, for allegedly spreading fake news in the Loni case.

Maheshwari has been asked to come to the police station at Loni Border and record the statement within one week.

The Twitter director had previously indicated his availability for the police interrogation via video-conference – a plea that had been rejected by the police, who asked him to appear at the police station in person.

Just one month earlier, the Delhi Police had questioned Maheshwari for a ‘toolkit’, allegedly released by the Congress party.

(With inputs from The Hindustan Times)

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