The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday stayed the arrest of a TV journalist in connection with an FIR lodged by a follower of self-styled godman Asaram, following a show that was broadcast on a news channel.
A Division Bench comprising Justices DP Singh and Mohd Tahir passed the order on a petition filed by the journalist, Deepak Chaurasia. Chaurasia who is Editor-in-Chief of the Hindi news channel had moved the court challenging FIR lodged by one Sanjay Patil. Significantly, the FIR was lodged under various sections of IPC, the IT Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act at Palam Vihar police station of Gurgaon (Haryana) on December 15, 2013.
The case was later transferred to Sector 39 police station of Noida for further probe and subsequent action. The complainant had taken exception to one of the shows aired on the channel in the wake of the scandal involving Asaram.
However, it was submitted on behalf of Chaurasia that the programme was broadcast "bona fide" and that it was based on the contents of a CD submitted by the prosecution in a Jodhpur court where trial against Asaram was underway.
Chaurasia also denied the complainant's allegation that the CD or any other documents relating to the investigation against Asaram were "tampered with" by people associated with the channel. The court, while asking the state counsel as well as the complainant's counsel to file their counter affidavits, ordered that the matter be listed for further hearing in the week commencing on February 24.