The Ghaziabad police on Monday warned the Twitter India managing director that his failure to report to it and join its investigation on June 24 in the case of the circulation of a communally sensitive video on its platform would amount to a hindrance in its probe, entailing legal consequences.
In a second notice sent to Twitter India MD Maneesh Maheshwari, Ghaziabad Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak warned him that his failure may result in his prosecution for hindering the probe. The new notice to the Twitter India MD was sent late Monday evening after Maheshwari offered to join the investigation through video conference, a senior police officer said. In response to the first notice of the police, Twitter India had also conveyed to them that the information sought by the Ghaziabad police did not pertain to Twitter India but Twitter Inc, its global head office.
In the second notice sent to Twitter India’s Delhi office at Shahid Bhagat Singh Place in Gole Market, SSP Pathak sternly told the MD that the “e-Mail sent by you shows that you are escaping the responsibility of cooperation with the police in the investigation”. “Clarification given by you is inappropriate. Being the MD of Twitter in India, you are the representative of the company. Therefore, you are bound by the Indian law to cooperate in the investigation,” SSP Pathak said in the second notice, slapped on Maheshwari under section 41 A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The SSP squarely held the MD responsible for the circulation of the communally provocative video, in which an elderly Muslim man of Bulandshahr was seen crying on June 14, accusing four youths of beating him up, chopping his beard and asking him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. “In the public interest and for the sake of the security of the state, you are authorised and have the power to make the decision that which tweet is supposed to be publicised and which should be deleted,” Pathak told Maheshwari, reminding him of his editorial responsibility. “ The message concerned in which your cooperation is required has enhanced tension in the state and the country and has hampered the communal harmony,” said Pathak. “The Ghaziabad police had tweeted (on June 14) through its official Twitter handle that the news broadcasted by you is fake. It was under your jurisdiction and you could have stopped spreading the false information but you failed in it,” Pathak said in the notice.
Reminding the Twitter India MD of the consequences of failure in joining the investigation at Loni police station on June 24, Pathak further said, “Your absence would be treated as a hindrance to the investigation.” “This type of act would be treated as an attempt of creating an obstruction in the investigation which leads the police to initiate further legal action,” he added.
Notices have also been sent to the news website The Wire in which journalists Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub, writer Saba Naqvi, Congress politicians Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani and Shama Mohamed have been accused of sharing the video with an intention to provoke communal unrest.
Bulandshahr man-Abdul Samad Saifi, who was allegedly thrashed on June 5 by some youths over a dispute on a magical amulet given by him to another youth, Parvesh Gurjar, had reported the matter to police on June 7 on which the police had lodged an FIR. But days later on June 14, Saifi, under the alleged instigation of a Samajwadi Party worker, had got recorded the communal video, claiming that he was thrashed and his beards chopped for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, leaving the police surprised.