The High Court had summoned Mr Bhatnagar today to explain the delay in prosecuting five people in the 2007 Gorakhpur riots case, including the Chief Minister, who took oath in March after a massive BJP win in the UP assembly elections. The court had directed the senior official to bring with him today all documents relating to the case, including sanction to prosecute, if given by the state government.
Explaining the government's move to deny sanction, the Chief Secretary told the court today that a forensic examination of a CD of the alleged hate speech by Yogi Adityanath was found to be tampered.
The petitioners in the case, a local journalist Pervez Parwaz and an activist Asad Hyat who is also a key witness, have said they will challenge the government's move. They had earlier told the court they were worried that with Yogi Adityanath now Chief Minister, "the person against whom sanction for prosecution has been granted by the state government has himself become the head of the state." The UP Chief Minister also has charge of the home portfolio.
Yogi Adityanath, who was then the BJP parliamentarian from Gorakhpur, is accused of making a provocative speech in front of a railway station on January 27, 2007. The petitioners have alleged that his speech led to riots in Gorakhpur.
A case was registered by the police in 2008 on a complaint Mr Parwaz and was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department or CID of the UP police. The CID completed investigation in 2015, and had sought sanction for prosecution that year. The Samajwadi Party government of Akhilesh Yadav was in power then in UP then, but did not sanction prosecution.