'No evidence of conspiracy at Aiyar's dinner meet'

'No evidence of conspiracy at Aiyar's dinner meet'

Former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar. (DH Photo)

There is no evidence of hatching a conspiracy against the country during a 2017 dinner meeting hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in which former Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Pakistan Minister Mahmud Kasuri attended, Delhi Police informed a court here on Thursday.

Delhi Police Crime Branch's Action Taken Report on the complaint filed by lawyer Ajay Agarwal also is not in consonance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's accusations during 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections that Congress was conspiring with Pakistan to dethrone him from the Centre and elect a Chief Minister which is of Islamabad's choice in Gujarat, alluding to Ahmed Patel.

In its report, police said breaking protocol, if any, does not attract any penal provision under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or any other local and special law. "As par as allegation of conspiring against India by these people matter, the complainant is only assuming this and no such evidence has come on record to show the conspiracy till now," it said.

The dinner meeting was held at Aiyar's residence on December, 6, 2017 in honour of Kasuri, who was then visiting India, and it was also attended by former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh, former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor and former diplomats Sharad Sabharwal, Satinder Lambah and TCA Raghavan among others.

Agarwal, who contested as a BJP candidate against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but lost, had claimed that the meeting was held without prior permission of the authorities and broke the protocol. He also alleged that those attended in the meeting "hatched a conspiracy" against the government as the very next day, Aiyar used "neech aadmi" against Modi "just before the Gujarat elections to influence the voters".

Police also said it cannot book Aiyar for sedition for describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "neech aadmi" (lowly person) as "mere uttering a derogatory word without more over act" did not constitute the offence. Aiyar made the comment against Modi the day after the dinner meeting.

"Using derogatory words against in public is a defamatory act and the person affected can file a defamatory suit against the alleged," police said and cited 1995 Supreme Court judgement which said "raising some slogan a couple of times" which neither evoked any response or any reaction from anyone in the public can neither attract provisions of sedition.

Responding to Modi, Singh had said, "Sadly and regrettably, Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former Prime Minister and Army chief”. He had also said he was "deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause."