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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Hate speech: Pilibhit court acquits Varun

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Pilibhit/Lucknow, February 27, 2013
First Published: 16:56 IST(27/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:42 IST(28/2/2013)

In a big relief to BJP national secretary and Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi, a local court in Pilibhit acquitted him of all the charges of having made an allegedly provocative speech during his 2009 election campaign in his constituency.

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Chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Abdul Qayum cleared Varun of the charges in the case for which the BJP leader had been jailed and had the National Security Act slapped against him by the then BSP government in Uttar Pradesh.

The court is expected to pronounce its judgment on Friday in a similar case registered for his March 8, 2009 speech at Barkhera. Another FIR was registered against Varun at Sadar Kotwali on March 18, 2009 - for making an allegedly communal speech.

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The Pilibhit court rejected an application moved by Mohammad Asad Hayat, general secretary of the Awami Council for Democracy and Peace, Allahabad, who pleaded that the BJP leader's speech hurt his sentiments for which he should be punished. Hayat also alleged that the police hadn't conducted a forensic test for a sample of Varun's voice - a plea that was rejected by the court as all 24 witnesses turned hostile.

Varun said after the verdict, "I've always reposed my faith in the judiciary and I welcome the decision of the honorable court that upholds my commitment to a strong and united India."

Significantly, in September, Varun had written to the Samajwadi Party government, asking it to withdraw the cases against him by claiming that they were politically motivated. A Varun aide said the report of the forensic science laboratory, Chandigarh, proved that the CD of the speech presented to the court by the police had been "deliberately tampered with" and had more than "20 cuts".

(With UNI inputs)

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