BJP MLA Sangeet Som gets police clean chit in inflammatory video case

Claiming that it did not have evidence to prosecute BJP’s MLA Sangeet Som for the video which ignited the 2013 communal violence in Muzaffarpur, the UP police have filed a closure report in a local court.

Sangeet Som

According to inspector Dharampal Tyagi, the investigating officer in the case, “the closure report was filed earlier this week because Facebook’s headquarters in California could not provide the complete details, which could have helped in collecting evidence in the case. The closure report has been filed on the ground that no evidence could be found”.

The court is yet to take cognizance of the report.

The police say they had no confirmation from Facebook that the video circulated on the social media about two youths being assaulted had originated from Som’s account.  

The video was circulated two days after the killing of two youths — Sachin and Gaurav — allegedly in retaliation for the murder of Shahnawaz, a resident of Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar, on August 27, 2013. The video had a message running across the clip: “Bhai Sahab Dekho Kya Hua Kawal Mein” (Please watch what’s happening in Kawal, brother).

According to a report in the Indian Express, the police found that the video had originally been posted on social media two years earlier, and possibly not filmed in India.

Primary investigation, the police said, revealed that the video was uploaded on YouTube by another accused, Shivam Kumar, and circulated widely allegedly after it was shared on Som’s Facebook account.

On August 29, 2013, an FIR was lodged at the City Kotwali police station against Som, Kumar and 229 unidentified persons under IPC sections 420 (forgery), 153-A (promoting enmity on religious grounds), 120-B (conspiracy) and section 66 of the Information Technology Act.

During investigation, police found that Kumar and Som had removed all details, including Friends lists, from their Facebook accounts. The 229 persons, who had “liked” the video, were also found to have removed their personal details from their accounts.

It was at this point that the police had sought information from Facebook’s headquarters in the US about Shivam’s and Som’s accounts. According to the police “some information” was received but that was insufficient to proceed with the case.



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