Editor of jagran.com Shekhar Tripathi was arrested on Tuesday for publishing an exit poll of the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh in violation of the model code of conduct.
The arrest was made after the Election Commission (EC) on Monday directed poll officers of 15 districts of the state to book editorial heads of the media group for publishing the exit poll, police said.
The districts went to poll on Saturday.
Ghaziabad superintendent of police (city) Salmantaj Patil said Tripathi was called for questioning on Monday night and was later arrested.
An FIR was lodged under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 126A and 126B of the Representation of the People Act against the managing-editor/editor-in-chief of the publication.
The managing director of Resource Development International (I) Private Limited (RDI), a management consulting firm, is also named an accused in the FIR.
In the case of Jagran dot com, the EC noted that it allegedly quoted an RDI exit poll that put the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the lead at the end of the first phase of elections in the state.
Taking serious note of the violation, the EC directed Uttar Pradesh election officer to get FIRs registered against the accused in 15 districts of Shamli, Muzaffar Nagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura, Hathras, Agra, Firozabad, Etah and Kasganj.
The offence under the section 126A of the Act is punishable by imprisonment for a term up to two years or with fine or both. The other, section 126B, provides that if offence is committed by a company, every person who is in charge of and is responsible for conduct of business of the company shall be held guilty of the offence and face punishment.
Dainik Jagran on Monday said that its report on exit polls was inadvertently published on its English website and was immediately removed.
“We clarify that we will fully comply with the directive which has been issued by the Election Commission of India and are in the process of filing a detailed fact-based response with the ECI clarifying the position,” it had said.
Media houses are barred from publishing or broadcasting exit polls so that the results do not influence voters.
“As part of the investigation, we are now trying to access the URL of the pages of their website on which the report was published. We are also trying to find out in whose name the domain is registered,” said Hemant Rai, station house officer of Kavi Nagar police station.