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Karnataka HC stays FIR against ex-BJP minister

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ordered a temporary stay on an

FIR filed against former BJP minister Dr CN Ashwathnarayan booked for his remarks against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during a rally ahead of state assembly election.

The Court stayed FIR against the petitioner for a period of four weeks.

Prima facie, Justice M Nagaprasanna, observed that there was no prima facie intent to cause riot via provocative remarks made by Dr Ashwathnarayan.

“What merits consideration now is whether the facts would meet the ingredients of Section 153 …

The result of the statement should be so provocative that it should result in rioting or is capable of resulting in rioting,” the court observed.

The FIR was registered on May 24 against Dr Ashwathnarayan’s remarks against Siddaramaiah in February. He was booked for offences under Sections 506 (criminal intimidation) and 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

During the hearing, Dr Ashwathnarayan’s counsel Prabhuling Navadagi submitted that the defendant M Lakshmana was neither present when the remarks were being made, nor a visual and an audio recording was not produced before the Lordship.

“It is his version of what happened. There has to be prima facie material, something further,” he submitted.

Navadgi also argued that once a non-cognizable report was registered on an earlier complaint, a second complaint could not be registered.

The defendant’s arguments that the mind of the police changed to file a second complaint just because the government changed does not hold good, Dr Ashwathnarayan’s counsel.

Challenging the FIR, Dr Ashwathnarayan stated that his enthusiastic remarks were made during the election campaign to motivate his party workers.

“Narayan without the intention to cause any sort of injury (verbally or physically) to the then opposition leader in state, made the speech only with an intention to defeating another political rival in the elections and it was meant in a way of vanquishing an opponent by way of electoral poll,” the plea stated.

It was claimed that the complainant chose to act on the statement made in February within a few days of the new ruling party coming to power.

He also stated that the complainant was trying to cause disturbance by giving the political statement a ‘colour of enmity and hatred’ amongst the public.

Dr Ashwathnarayan further alleged that the complainant was only trying to capitalise on the electoral victory and get back at his political rivals.

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