Bihar police drop sedition charge against celebs
October 09, 2019  21:26
Closure has been ordered for the sedition case lodged in Bihar's Muzaffarpur against close to 50 renowned personalities, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam and Anurag Kashyap besides historian Ramachandra Guha, who were signatories to an open letter seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in rising incidence of mob lynching.   

Senior Superintendent of Police, Muzaffarpur, Manoj Kumar Sinha said on Wednesday that direction to the effect has been issued to the Sadar police station in the town where the FIR was lodged last week upon the complaint of a local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.
     
"Closure has been ordered for the sedition case. A closure report will be submitted before the court in due course", Sinha said.
     
Although the SSP did not elaborate further, police sources claimed that during investigations it was noted that Ojha's allegations were "mischievous" and "lacked substance".
     
Notably, Ojha had filed a petition before a court in July this year soon after news reports of the open letter, signatories to which also included actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sen and Revathi and light classical singer Shubha Mudgal, came out.
     
The CJM, Surya Kant Tiwari, allowed the petition filed under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code in August and upon receiving intimation of the same on October 03, the police lodged an FIR under IPC sections invoked by the petitioner, including the one for sedition.
     
Interestingly, the petitioner had also named as "witnesses" Bollywood figures Kangana Ranaut, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri and alleged that those named as accused had brought disrepute to the country and sought to tarnish the image of the prime minister.
     
The development had triggered nationwide outrage, evoking criticisms from top opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi even as close to 200 celebrities  this time including historian Romila Thapar and actor Naseeruddin Shah among others came out with another open letter asking how an appeal to the prime minister could be construed as seditious. -- PTI
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