A police team from Chhattisgarh reached Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad town on Tuesday to arrest a TV news anchor from his home for playing a doctored clip of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi out of context but he was taken into custody by Noida police instead, officials said. Both the teams, one from BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and the other from Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, landed at Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan's home in Ghaziabad's Indirapuram area, near the national capital, at the same time.
“Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan was picked up from his home for questioning on Tuesday morning by a team of Noida Sector 20 police station in connection with an FIR lodged under IPC 505 (public mischief) on a complaint by his own channel over a doctored video played during his show on July 1,” a Noida police officer. In Raipur, Senior Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal told that a case was registered against Ranjan and others of Zee News on Sunday for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups and outraging religious feelings of people based on the complaint of Congress MLA Devendra Yadav.
Yadav said in his complaint that a video in which Rahul Gandhi described those attacking his Wayanad office as children and said he had no ill-will against them,was "mischievously" used by the TV channel on July 1 to suggest he was forgiving the killers of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal. As drama unfolded outside Ranjan's home with the police forces of two states ready to arrest the anchor, a senior Ghaziabad police officer told PTI that the local city police were not involved in the case.
Ranjan spoke out on Twitter in a post in Hindi. “Chhattisgarh Police is standing outside my house to arrest me without informing the local police, is it legal?” the Zee News anchor asked and tagged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the state's police in the post.“There is no such rule to inform. Still, now they are informed. Police team has shown you the court's warrant of arrest. You should in fact cooperate, join in the investigation and put your defence in court,” Raipur Police said in response.
Chhattisgarh police was not been able to arrest him but said it had shown him the arrest warrant and sought his cooperation in the probe. The FIR against Ranjan has been filed in Raipur. On July 2, a day after the video was aired, Ranjan had apologized during his TV show for “mistakenly” playing Gandhi's statement out of context by linking it with the Udaipur murder case.
“It was a human error for which our team is apologetic. We apologise for it,” he had tweeted in Hindi. The out of context video was used by several people including BJP leaders to attack Gandhi and the Congress party in the wake of the gruesome killing in Udaipur on June 28.
FIRs have been lodged in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur and Raipur, in UP's Noida, and at some places in Rajasthan in connection with the doctored video of the Congress leader. Congress legislator Yadav, whose FIR in Raipur led to the Chhattisgarh police action, has also accused the director and chairman of Zee News, its Chief Executive Officer, as well as Ranjan for conspiring to spread fabricated and fake news against Gandhi in a bid to incite communal riots and disturb social harmony, a police official said.
(With PTI Inputs)