In a stunning development, the Hyderabad Police have said that they will file a closure report on the sedition case filed against three Muslim men following a sting operation by Republic TV.
The cops, according to a report by Indian Express, said that this was after Republic TV refused to hand over the unedited tapes of its sting operation carried out on three men, Abdullah Basith, Salman Mohiuddin and Abdul Hanan Qureshi. Republic TV, founded by Arnab Goswami with the help of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and others, had broadcast a sting operation in May last year, showing the three men allegedly express their allegiance to the terrorist outfit IS. The three men had later alleged mischief by Republic TV saying that their comments were deliberately broadcast out of context.
“We summoned them (three men) for questioning because from the footage it appeared that they still had a highly radicalised mindset and were ready to go join the IS if they got the opportunity,’’ a senior official in the Hyderabad Police was quoted by Indian Express.
The cops also said that they “did not find much evidence” based on that footage.
DCP (Detective Department, Central Crime Station) Avinash Mohanty, was quoted as saying, “While one youth was seen bragging about his continued allegiance to the IS, the other two appear to be talking about their previous experience of getting radicalised and regretting it. But we did not find much evidence that they had intention of committing a crime or instigating violence. It was not that the three men were in hiding and making plans. They had been appearing before the investigation officer every week in regard to their previous case.”
Republic TV said that it had provided the footage to the cops saying that it ‘physically handed over the entire unedited footage of the sting operation to the Hyderabad Police and on multiple occasions offered to share all the information with the authorities in writing.’
Mohanty, however, said that the footage given to the investigation officer was an edited version. “We then asked for the original devices which were used to record the conversations, but they declined to provide that. With edited versions on CD, it is difficult to ascertain how the conversation started and the context in which a person is making some claim,” he added.
Questions may be asked as to why Republic TV refused to hand over the unedited footage and the device with which the sting operation was carried out. In the past Zee News had faced flak for airing doctored videos targeting JNU students.
Republic TV has been widely condemned for its biases in favour of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s two opposition parties, the Congress and the AAP, have officially boycotted the channel. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has already filed a defamation case against the channel.