Akbaruddin Owaisi acquitted in hate speech cases

Akbaruddin Owaisi acquitted in hate speech case.

Hyderabad, April 13 (IANS) In a huge relief to AIMIM legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, a special court in Hyderabad on Wednesday acquitted him in alleged hate speech cases.

The Special Sessions Judge for Trial of Criminal Cases relating to MPs and MLAs acquitted him of all charges in both the cases registered against him in Nirmal and Nizamabad in 2013.

The case could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, hence the court acquitted Akbaruddin Owaisi of all charges, his counsel Abdul Azeem told reporters outside the Nampally Court Complex.

He said the court found that the videos and cassettes of the speeches presented before it were not genuine. Counsel said the evidence was presented in the form of pieces of speech and not as continuous speech and hence, the court gave benefit of doubt to the accused.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, a leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Telangana Legislative Assembly, is the younger brother of AIMIM President and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

The MLA from Chandrayangutta constituency in Hyderabad, he was present in the court when the judge pronounced the verdict but quietly left the premises.

While Akbaruddin Owaisi has not reacted to the court verdict, his elder brother took to Twitter to thank Allah. “Alhamdulilah Akbaruddin Owaisi has been acquitted by MP/MLA Special Court in two criminal cases against him for alleged hate speeches. Grateful to all for their prayers & support. Special thanks to Advocate Abdul Azeem sb & senior lawyers who provided their valuable assistance,” he posted.

Two cases were registered against Akbaruddin Owaisi at two police stations in Adilabad and Nizamabad districts in relation to his alleged hate speeches at Nirmal and Nizamabad on December 8 and 22, 2012.

The MIM leader was arrested on January 7, 2013 after his speeches went viral on social networking sites. After spending 40 days in jail, he walked free after a court granted him bail.

In Nirmal case, he was booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 120-B (Criminal conspiracy),153-A (Promoting enmity between two groups on the basis of religion), 295 A ( Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering word, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 109 (Punishment of abetment)

The court examined 33 witnesses in the case. The audio/video recording of the speech was also sent to the forensic laboratory.

In Nizamabad case, the CID had booked him under IPC sections 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153 (A), 188, 295A, 298, 505(1) (B) and (C), 505 (2). The CID had examined 41 witnesses in this case.

In 2016, police had filed a charge sheet against Akbaruddin Owaisi in a court in Adilabad district after the state government gave permission for his prosecution.

The case was later transferred to the special court, set up on the orders of the Supreme Court, to deal with the cases relating to MPs and MLAs.

Since FIRs were lodged against the AIMIM leader in various police stations in the state, the Telangana High Court had last month ordered clubbing of multiple FIRs into one single case.

During the hearing in special court, Akbaruddin Owaisi’s counsel had argued that there was no ample evidence available to prove the charges against him. Last week, the court had reserved the order.

Police had made adequate security arrangements in the old city of Hyderabad in view of the court verdict.

Last year, Akbaruddin Owaisi was acquitted by a special court in connection with an alleged hate speech case registered against him in 2004.

The MLA had allegedly made a communally inciting speech at a public meeting in 2004 during election campaigning. A case was registered against him on a complaint from a police official.

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