The Delhi Police on Monday informed the Supreme Court that its final report into the alleged hate speech made at a religious assembly in the national capital in 2021, is “almost ready”. The top court told the Delhi Police to inform it about the preventive steps taken against the accused in the case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala gave three weeks’ time to the police to inform it about the preventive steps taken.
Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the Delhi Police, submitted that the investigation is substantially completed and the final report is almost ready. “It has been sent for vetting and we will be filing the final report in the shortest time,” he added.
Advocate Shadan Farasat, representing petitioner Tushar Gandhi, contended that Delhi Police should clarify certain additional aspects and pointed out that as per the police affidavit, they have fixed some date in March for collecting the voice sample of Sudarshan News chairman cum managing director and editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke.
Farasat said it should be done expeditiously and cannot take so long, and secondly, what are the preventive steps as regards these people? What steps have they taken so that these types of incidents are not repeated by these persons again?
The bench asked the Delhi Police counsel to look into the petitioner’s counsel contention.
Delhi Police investigating officer, in an affidavit, said that Delhi BJP spokesperson Vikram Bidhuri, who was one of the participants has been examined, and Sudarshan News editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke was examined in the case on November 1, 2022 and “he was bound down u/s 41A CrPC”.
The affidavit added that the alleged hate speech video has been examined and the transcript has been prepared.
“Forensic Science Laboratory, Delhi has fixed March 17 for recording of a voice sample of Suresh Chavanke. Thereafter his specimen voice recording will be compared with the video/audio downloaded from YouTube…effort is being made to obtain the details of the video of the speech made during the event and uploaded on YouTube, through the process of MLAT,” it said.
“That investigation of the case is being conducted fairly and without any bias,” said the affidavit.
The police filed this affidavit in compliance with the January 13 order passed by the apex court directing the investigating officer to place on record the steps which have been taken to pursue the investigation since the incident took place on December 19, 2021. The police have also requested Google Inc to trace the login-logout IP addresses of the video on YouTube from where the alleged video was uploaded.
“That in response to notice u/s 91 Cr.P.C., a reply dated November 18, 2022 was received on email from Google, LLC, Legal Investigations Support, informing that no records from the Google account holders, specified in the request, have been found,” added the affidavit.
The police have told the apex court that it has examined Hindu Yuva Vahini Delhi chief Rajiv Kumar, who booked the auditorium, General Secretary Sachin Vasisht, who organised the event, and Ashutosh Sharma who attended the meeting and uploaded the video on YouTube in the channel named as ‘Hishant Media’, besides several others.
“Some other participants who had attended the event have been identified and are yet to be examined.
“A draft ‘final report’ has been prepared and was sent to the prosecution branch for scrutiny. However, some points have been raised by the public prosecutor and investigation on those points is being conducted, “added the affidavit.
On January 13, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Delhi Police for registering FIR on the alleged hate speeches made at Dharam Sansad in Govindpuri in December 2021 after a lapse of five months and not making an arrest or filing a charge sheet till date. It had told the police that there was no palpable progress made in the investigation in the case.