The Delhi police on Thursday gave a clean chit to Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in two complaints over his alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meeting with Pakistani officials here without following protocol. The police in its separate Action Taken Reports (ATR) sought dismissal of the two complaints filed against the former union minister by advocate and politician Ajay Agrawal.
It told a court that mere uttering of a derogatory word without a more “overt act” against the prime minister does not constitute an offence of sedition against Aiyar.
“Mere uttering a derogatory word, without more overt act, against PM of India did not constitute an offence under section 124A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting enmity) of Indian Penal Code,” the police told Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhara Azad.
Aiyar was suspended by the Congress in a damage control exercise hours after he called Modi a ‘neech aadmi”(lowly person) on December 7, 2017, sparkinh a political storm ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls. His suspension was revoked on August 18, 2018.
In criminal law, an overt act is the one that can be clearly proved by evidence and from which criminal intent can be inferred.
The police also contended that even if Aiyar broke the protocol by hosting Pakistan officials, it does not attract any penal provision under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
“As far as the allegations of conspiring against India by these persons matter, the complainant is only assuming this and no such evidence has come on record to show conspiracy till now,” it added.
Agrawal had filed a plea against Aiyar in 2017 for lodging a sedition case against Aiyar for allegedly using derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi and hosting a meeting with Pakistani officials. He alleged that the meeting posed a threat to national security.
The court has put up the matter for further hearing on December 16.
Agrawal said the meeting was held at the south Delhi residence of Aiyar and attended by the then Pakistan’s high commissioner and an ex-foreign minister of the neighbouring country among others.
In his plea, Agrawal claimed that “derogatory” words were also used against Modi at the meeting held on December 6, 2017 which was also attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and ex-vice president Hamid Ansari.
The petitioner has sought the court’s direction to the Delhi Police to book Aiyar and others present under conspiracy and sedition charges, and investigate the matter.
He had said the Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry were not informed about the meeting despite India’s strained relations with Pakistan.
The petitioner said he had requested the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Delhi police for a probe but in vain.
The court earlier directed Agrawal, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli, to supply copies of the documents in the court based on which the police would file an ATR.