Bengaluru/Ghaziabad: In a relief to Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday restrained Ghaziabad police, which has summoned him in connection with a probe related to the assault of an elderly Muslim man there, from initiating coercive action against him.
The single bench of Justice G Narender said the police can examine Maheshwari through virtual mode.
“If the police desire to examine the petitioner (Manish Maheshwari), they may do so through virtual mode,” the court said.
“If the matter requires consideration, we list it on June 29.In the meanwhile restraining the respondents from initiating any coercive action against the petitioner,” the court maintained.
“It is case of petitioner that he has replied to notice under section 160 of CrPC to join through virtual mode.The respondent (Ghaziabad police) taking objection to the request has turned around and issued notice under section 41(A) virtually putting him in shoes of accused,” it observed.
Appearing on behalf of Maheshwari, advocate C V Nagesh said someone had posted a video on the Twitter platform alleging that a Muslim was forced to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.
When he refused, his beard was cut.
Subsequently a notice under section 161 of the CrPC was issued to Maheshwari by email and responding to it, he said he would be ready to appear virtually.
Soon the police issued a notice under section 41(A) asking him to appear in person within 24 hours to travel from Bengaluru to Ghaziabad, which was not possible for Maheshwhari, Nagesh told the court.
The court maintained that the petitioner is an employee of Twitter Communication India Private Limited handling marketing and sales and not a member of board of directors to be responsible for uploading of the alleged video based on which the FIR was registered.
The Twitter India Managing Director, who lives in Bengaluru in Karnataka, was issued notice by the Ghaziabad Police on June 21 and asked to report at its Loni Border police station at 10.30 am on Thursday to get his statement recorded in the case, officials at Ghaziabad said.
“He (Maheshwari) is not coming today,” Ghaziabad Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak earlier told PTI.
Pathak said the Ghaziabad Police has learnt that the Twitter India MD has given a representation in Karnataka High Court in connection with the case and a decision on that is pending.
The Ghaziabad Police had on June 15 booked Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India, news website The Wire, journalists Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub, besides Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani, Shama Mohamed and writer Saba Naqvi.
They were booked over the circulation of a video in which the elderly man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, claims he was allegedly thrashed by some young men who also asked him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on June 5.
The police claim the video was shared to cause communal unrest.