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May 15, 2013 at 10:04am IST

Varun Gandhi hate speech: Many witnesses turned hostile during trial

Lucknow: Nearly three months after a court acquitted Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Varun Gandhi of making provocative speeches in 2009, the Uttar Pradesh government will now appeal against the order. This, after CNN-IBN's sister channel IBN7 reported that as many as 14 government servants, including the then district magistrate of Pilibhit, turned hostile during the trial.

The 2009 speech landed Varun Gandhi in jail during the election campaign, with the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawati, slapping non-bailable charges like promoting religious enmity between communities on the young BJP leader. Four years later, the Pilibhit CJM court acquitted Varun of all charges.

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The investigating officer failed to produce the alleged inflammatory CD in court in all these four years and Varun's voice sample was never taken. And if this wasn't enough, all 14 government officials who were witnesses, including the district magistrate, the ADM and 13 policemen, turned hostile. Embarrassed by IBN7's reports on prosecution's methods during the trial, the UP government hastily stated that it would appeal in a higher court.

Being the Pilibhit District Magistrate in 2009, Mahendra Agarwal was the official complainant in this case and hence a witness, along with his deputy ADM Zameer Alam. Strangely, Agarwal told the court that he neither saw Varun Gandhi's provocative speech nor had they received any complaint. Thirteen policemen followed suit and changed their statements in the court leading to Varun's acquittal.

The ruling Samajwadi Party, which banks heavily on Muslim support, is now washing off its hands in the whole matter. With the time bar for appeal approaching soon, the UP government is on test.