Lalit Mohan and Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Dharamsala/Shimla, June 26
Congress leader and former Chief Parliamentary (CPS) Neeraj Bharti, who was booked on the charges of sedition for posting objectionable messages on Facebook on June 20, was arrested by the CID wing of Himachal police in Shimla on Friday.
After questioning, he was detained on Friday evening.
The father of the arrested and a former Congress MP, Chander Kumar, when contacted, confirmed that his son had been arrested by the police after questioning.
A case was registered against Neeraj Bharti on June 20 on the complaint of advocate Narinder Guleria, resident of Annadale in Shimla, who alleged that Bharti had posted three messages on Facebook in 24 hours which amounted to sedition, promoted enmity between various groups, intentional insult with an intent to provoke breach of peace and statements conducing to public mischief.
The case was registered under Section 124A, 153A 505 and 504 of the IPC for allegedly provoking citizens and the Army against the duly elected government and creating hatred at the CID police station in Bharti.
Neeraj Bharti was summoned for examination at the CID crime branch police station in Shimla on June 24. He was questioned for three days on various aspects related to the case, police sources said, adding that he would be produced in the CJM court tomorrow.
Further investigations were underway, the police said.
Neeraj Bharti was Congress MLA from Jawali assembly constituency in Kangra district. His father and former MP, Chander Kumar, was a prominent OBC leader from Kangra. Bharti had lost the last assembly election to Arjun Thakur of the BJP from Jawali assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, Neeraj’s father criticised the police for arresting his son and said it was a case of political vendetta.
He added that Neeraj was called for questioning by the CID and he went. “But after the questioning, they arrested him. It is unfortunate that even political leaders are not being allowed to express their views on social media and cases are being registered against them,” Chander Kumar added.
He said Neeraj was a political figure and had the right to express his opinion on political and other issues.
“We live in a democratic country where freedom of speech and expression is a Fundamental Right and such actions were against the spirit of the Constitution,” he said, adding that the comments made by Neeraj Bharti on his personal Facebook page were his personal opinion.
This was not the first instance of Bharti using inappropriate language on social media platforms. He has been in controversy for quite some time owing to his volatile social media posts. In the past, cases have been registered against him for using aggressive and abusive language on social-networking platforms.
He had been targeting the BJP and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his posts on social media. He also targeted certain Congress leaders through his social media account.
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