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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

'Govt won't interfere in anti-Modi FB comments case'

PTI  Panaji, May 24, 2014
First Published: 17:49 IST(24/5/2014) | Last Updated: 13:37 IST(25/5/2014)

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar has ruled out any political interference in the police investigation against local resident Lavu Chodankar, who had allegedly posted comments against Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi on Facebook in March when the Lok Sabha poll campaign was on.

"Government is not involved in this matter in any manner and the investigating officer is empowered to take the case forward as per law," Parrikar said in a statement issued here on Saturday.

"As per the SC directives, it is compulsory to register all complaints. A prominent citizen has filed a complaint and judiciary has denied granting anticipatory bail, which proves that there is substance in the complaint."

Goa businessman Atul Pai Kane, who heads the BJP-led Goa government's committee on investment and industrial policy, had lodged a complaint against Chodankar.

Meanwhile, political parties and social activists on Saturday protested the police action against Chodankar, who is currently out of town.

The protestors led by cybercrime expert Samir Kelekar and representatives of Congress and Aam Admi Party (AAP) staged their agitation outside the police headquarters here after they were stopped at the gate and were refused permission to meet director general of police T Mohan.

"Police have claimed they want to access his laptop from which the message was posted on Facebook. The message was posted on March 23 and summons were issued on May 12. According to them, there was delay on the part of Facebook to respond to their query. This is absolutely wrong," Kelekar told reporters.

"Two months after the post, what you will get on the laptop is the record that FB was accessed, that's all."

Congress Goa chief John Fernandes, Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, independent MLA Vijay Sardesai and AAP co-ordinator Walmiki Naik were part of the protests.

Kelekar alleged that police had filed the FIR to "harass" Chodankar while Sardesai said, "Modi needs to be magnanimous and not indulge in such petty things."

The cyber crime cell of Goa Police had moved the court here seeking custodial interrogation of Chodankar, claiming that his FB post was part of a larger plan to "promote communal and social disharmony" in the state.

The district and sessions court on Friday had rejected Chodankar's anticipatory bail plea.

Chodankar's lawyer Jatin Naik said his client had already moved the Bombay high court bench in Goa for anticipatory bail and the case would be heard on Tuesday.

Police have filed an FIR under Section 153(A) and 295(A) of the IPC, as also under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act as well as Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act.


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