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‘Two news dailies made similar claims’: Karnataka HC stays proceedings against journalist Ajeet Bharti for remarks on Rahul Gandhi

Ajeet Bharti, known for his searing political takes and deadpan humour, welcomed the court's decision on X, formerly Twitter, and thanked Shehzad Poonawalla, Tejaswi Surya, Aruna Shyam, Roshan Sinha, and his supporters. Before his tweet, Bharti cryptically tweeted, "ZKMKB."

The Karnataka High Court on Monday halted the proceedings against journalist Ajeet Bharti, who faces charges under Section 153-A and 502(2) of the IPC for allegedly posting a video tweet with comments about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna, presiding over a single judge bench, observed that the statement in the video tweet was based on reports from two national newspapers. The court stated, “If the tweet stems from newspaper reports, which included claims by some former Congress leaders, and the petitioner tweeted about these claims, it becomes a case of claim versus claim.”

“Therefore, the genesis of the problem lies in the claim as aforequoted which has resulted in the tweet by the petitioner. The tweet by the petitioner resulted in a complaint being given against the petitioner for spreading false news and fabricated propaganda, violating sections 153A and 505 of the IPC. The very title that it is fabricated propaganda is contrary to the records as the national newspapers had carried what was claimed as afore quoted. Therefore, till the special public prosecutor would steer clear with truthfulness as regards the publication as afore quoted, no further investigation can be permitted against this petitioner,” the Karnataka HC was quoted as saying by Live Law.

Ajeet Bharti, known for his searing political takes and deadpan humour, welcomed the court’s decision on X, formerly Twitter, and thanked his supporters and Shehzad Poonawalla, Tejaswi Surya, Aruna Shyam, and Roshan Sinha. Before his tweet, Bharti cryptically tweeted, “ZKMKB.”

As a result, the court paused the investigation and scheduled the next hearing for July 19.

According to the complaint filed on June 15, Bharti is accused of inciting communal disharmony through his video tweet on social media.

The plea argued that there is no evidence showing Bharti committed any offence and the complaint does not specify how his tweet caused communal disharmony.

Representing Bharti were Senior Advocate Aruna Shyam along with Advocates Anirudh A. Kulkarni and Akshay S. Vasist.

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