New Delhi, 22/10:The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from then Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari on a plea by the Uttar Pradesh government against quashing of personal appearance notice in a viral video case.
The Ghaziabad Police had on June 15 booked Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India, news website The Wire, journalists Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub, besides Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani, Shama Mohamed and writer Saba Naqvi.
They were accused of circulating a video in which the elderly man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, claimed that he was allegedly thrashed by some young men who also asked him to chant ”Jai Shri Ram” on June 5. The police claim the video was shared to cause communal unrest.
The police have maintained the assault took place because the accused were unhappy about the ”tabeez” (amulets) sold to them by Saifi, a resident of adjoining Bulandshahr district, and ruled out any communal angle in the case.
The state government led by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta questioned the jurisdiction of the Karnataka High Court to quash the notice issued to Maheshwari by Ghaziabad police for probe.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli issued notice to Maheshwari, saying the court would examine the matter.
Senior advocates A M Singhvi and Sidharth Luthra appeared for Maheshwari.
In his submission, Mehta said there was a question of law that needs examination. It is on the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court.
The UP government has filed a special leave petition against the Karnataka High Court’s order of July 23, quashing the notice as mala fide. Maheshwari has been transferred to the US as a senior director in the Revenue Strategy and Operations department of the social media company.
He filed a caveat, seeking a hearing before before the top court before passing of any order.
On June 24, the Karnataka High Court had granted protection from arrest to Maheshwari in an FIR lodged by Loni Police in Ghaziabad.
The Ghaziabad Police issued notice to Twitter MD asking him to appear at Loni Police Station for questioning on probe related to viral video of the assault.
Earlier, Twitter India officials had informed the police they are ready to be available for questioning via video conferencing which was rejected by police.
In the video that triggered nationwide reaction, Saifi purportedly said he was attacked by some young men and forced to chant ”Jai Shri Ram”. But, according to the district police, he did not made any such allegations in his FIR lodged on June 7, two days after the incident.
The June 15 FIR stated that the Ghaziabad Police had issued a statement with facts of the incident but despite that the accused did not remove the video from their Twitter handles.