Protests over police action on Goan for anti-Modi FB comments

Goa Police`s attempt to arrest a Facebooker for making anti-Narendra Modi comment is snowballing into a major controversy.

Panaji: Political parties and social activists on Saturday protested police action against a Goan youth, who had allegedly posted comments against Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi on Facebook in March when the Lok Sabha campaign was on.

The cyber crime cell of Goa Police had moved the court here seeking custodial interrogation of accused Lavu Chodankar claiming that his FB post was a larger gameplan to "promote communal and social disharmony" in the state.

The District and Sessions court had yesterday rejected anticipatory bail plea of Chodankar, who is currently out of station.
Goa businessman Atul Pai Kane, who heads the BJP-led Goa government`s committee on investment and industrial policy, had lodged a complaint against Chodankar.

The police had filed an FIR under Section 153(A), 295(A) of the IPC, besides Section 125 of the Representation of People Act as well as Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act.

The protesters led by cybercrime expert Dr Samir Kelekar and representatives of Congress and Aam Admi Party (AAP) today staged their agitation outside the police headquarters here after they were stopped at the gate and were refused permit to meet Director General of Police T Mohan.

"The police have claimed that they want to access his laptop from where the message was posted on FB. The message was posted on March 23 and summons were issued on May 12. According to them, there was delay on the part of Facebook to respond to their query. This is absolutely wrong. Two months after the post, what you will get on the laptop is the record that FB was accessed, that`s all," Kelekar, an IITIan and cybercrime expert told reporters.

Congress` Goa chief John Fernandes, Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Independent Vijay Sardesai and AAP co-ordinator Walmiki Naik were among those who joined the protests.
Kelekar alleged that police had filed the FIR to `harass` Chodankar while Sardesai said, "Modi needs to be magnanimous and should not indulge in such petty things."

However, State Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has ruled out any political interference in the investigation of the case."As per SC directives, it is compulsory to register all complaints. A prominent citizen has filed a complaint and judiciary has denied granting anticipatory bail, which proves that there is substance in the complaint," Parrikar said in a statement issued here today.

"Government is not involved in this matter in any manner and the investigating officer is empowered to take the case forward as per law," he added.

Meanwhile, Chodankar`s lawyer Jatin Naik said that his client has already moved Bombay High Court bench in Goa for anticipatory bail and the case would be heard on Tuesday.

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