Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor Police on Sunday, 20 June, booked journalist Vineet Narain and two others for allegations made in a Facebook post against Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and general secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust Champat Rai, for allegedly being involved in a land grab case.
Rai has also been facing questions over the contentious land deals in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram Temple.
The complaint was filed by Rai’s brother, Sanjay Bansal, who has named Narain, his aide Rajnish and an NRI woman Alka Lahoti, accusing them of conspiring to make false allegations against Rai and in the process, hurting the sentiments of crores of Hindus across the country.
A total of 15 sections of the Indian Penal Code and three sections of the IT Act have been invoked against Narain, including IPC 153A (promoting enmity enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 293 (circulating obscene objects), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 448 (punishment for house-trespass), 465 (punishment for forgery), among others, Times of India reported.
In his post, Narain had attached an application that provided the details of a cowshed belonging to Alka Lahoti. Narain accused Rai of helping his brothers grab 20,000 square meters of land in the cow shelter in Bijnor. The post also claims that Lahoti has been trying to get the encroachers evicted since 2018.
According to the complainant, when he contacted Narain over the allegations, his aide Rajnish abused and threatened him.
The FIR read, “All that was said in the post were false and fabricated. Vineet Narain has hatched a conspiracy with Alka and the other accused against the family. The sentiments of crores of Hindus have been hurt and there is a possibility of social order being disturbed,” Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, the police seems to have given a ‘clean chit’ to Rai and his brothers in a prima face inquiry. A day after the FIR was filed, Bijnor Police posted a video on Twitter, where Dharm Veer Singh, SP Bijnor said, “The allegations against Champat Rai appear to be baseless. Even the allegations against his family members appear to have no authenticity. Police are investigating all aspects.”
Narain is known for having pursued the legal case in the hawala scam of the early 90s, in which several politicians and bureaucrats were charge sheeted. It was his writ petition that led to the Supreme Court rulings concerning the appointment of the CBI director.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and The Times of India)