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Bihar police files closure of sedition case against artistes, to prosecute complainant

Lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha had filed a case of sedition against the artistes who had signed an open letter to prime minister Narendra Modi against the growing incidents of mob lynching in India. 

Our Correspondent

In a stunning development, the Bihar police ordered a closure on the case of sedition filed by lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha in the Muzaffarpur sessions court against the 49 signatories of the open letter to prime minister Narendra Modi. Reports now suggest that the police will prosecute the complainant for 'false allegations' on the same. 

The case was filed in the Sadar police station in purview of the chief judicial magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari's order a couple of months ago. A Press Trust of India (PTI) report quoted the additional director general of police, Jitendra Kumar as saying that in view of the magistrate's order the police had "no option but to register a case under sections which the reading of the complaint discloses".

However, the ADG addded that the superintendent of police from Muzaffarpur, post supervising the matter had asked for evidence and documents to support the claim from the complainant. Having failed to produce any proof, including the signed open letter, the case was dismissed.

"On this and other circumstantial bases, the case is found to be false and the order has been issued by him to investigating officer to submit final report- false. Along with this, finding this to be an intentional purpose of the complainant, prosecution under sections 182 and 211 (of the Indian Penal Code) will be submitted against complainant for lodging a false case." 

Among the people named in the original complaint of sedition were filmmakers Aparna Sen, Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Revathy, actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Parambrata Chatterjee, historian Ramchandra Guha, Ashis Nandy and others. 

The PTI report also suggests that actress Kangana Ranaut, directors Vivek Agnihotri and Madhur Bhandarkar were 'witnesses' for the complaint. The trio were among the few who were critical of the open letter. 

In the week since the story of the first information report (FIR) against the artistes broke, there have been 1,389 more artistes including Arundhati Roy, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sanjana Kapoor, Jawahar Sircar, TM Krishna, who have added their names to the open letter. The FIR also came under round criticism from across political party lines and social media. 

The PTI report also quoted Ojha as saying, "Any number of petitions have been filed on the basis of my complaints and these have been pending for as long as 10 years. I wonder how the police came to a conclusion in this matter in just a few days. I will file a petition against the police."