Why did the fake agreement case between the Prime Minister and RAW Chief become a criminal case?

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian intelligence RAW Chief Samanta Goyal said a four-point agreement had been reached.

Initially, the news was published online under the headline ‘Agreement between RAW Chief and Oli for not raising the issue of Lipulekh to Modi’s support in MCC’ by the portal ‘Ujyalo Network.com’. 

Ujyalo, who initially published the news after failing to prove that the agreement was genuine, removed the news and apologized on 8th Baisakh, saying the news was published due to negligence. Other online portals also apologized in the same manner. 

However, the issue is under discussion again after the police arrested the executive editor of Ujyalo Network eight days later. 

Police case and claims

Anish Tamang, the executive editor was arrested on a warrant on Electronic Transactions Act and on the case against the state. Editor Bibek Lopchan’s mobile phone was also taken away by the police for investigation. 

Chief of the Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, SSP Ashok Singh claims that Tamang was arrested on criminal charges for not only writing news but also for ‘cyber crime’. 

Singh says, “They have also committed ‘cyber crime’ by publishing false news by making fake papers about the Prime Minister.” They have also committed fraud. That is the fault. ‘

Asked if the Press Council had agreed on the issue, he said it did not make sense to apologize or agree on a criminal case.

Police are also preparing to charge them for forging the signature of the Prime Minister. It has also been alleged that the signing of the agreement between the two countries was forged and the signatures were forged.

The court order is as follows

The Patan High Court has also issued an interim order in this regard. He asked  not to arrest him saying  that he has already refuted the news published in the court order issued on 21st April. However, the order states that criminal cases can be investigated.

The single bench of Chief Justice Nripadhwaj Niraula said in the order, “Since it has contradicted the news published by the news publishing organization, do not arrest the petitioner on the basis of publishing the news except in the case of investigation of a criminal case.”

SSP Singh claims that they have not yet received the order of the high court. Stating that they have already submitted the extension to the district court in Kathmandu, they said that the court will make a decision on all these issues.

A police source said that the action was taken against him on the basis of the same order given by the high court.

Protests by the Press Council and the Federation

The Press Council and the Federation of Nepali Journalists have protested against Tamang’s arrest. Acting Chairman of the Press Council Gopal Budathoki apologized to the news organization and said that the news had been removed.”

The Press Council has taken action against nine media outlets, including the Ujyalo Network, and such news organization apologized and deleted news items,” Budathoki said in a statement posted on Facebook that police intervention and arrest can not and should not be done only on the basis of what journalists have written.

Bipul Pokharel, president of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), said that the re-arrest was a violation of press freedom.

“In this case, going to the media house and arresting a journalist is a direct attack on the freedom of the press,” Pokhrel said. This is not acceptable under any circumstances. We are also fighting a legal battle against it. And, we are pushing the state to stop such activities. ‘

Pokharel argues that laws such as the Electronic Transaction Act and treason should not be used in this regard. “By inserting the provisions of the Electronic Transaction Act, laws like treason have been used to intimidate people,” he said.

‘Arrested in criminal case’

SSP Ashok Singh, Chief

Metropolitan Police Range, Teku

They have also committed ‘cyber crime’ by publishing false news about the Prime Minister. Fraud has been committed.No false information shall be transformed that is against the state. He has been arrested on the same issue.

This is a criminal issue. The court’s ‘standard’ does not apply to this. The issue also arises on the basis of news writing. How they got that document out is now being investigated.

Fake news shall not be published against the Prime Minister of the country. This is ‘cyber crime’. This is a criminal charge. He has been sent to court on criminal charges.

The district court may also have looked into the issue of extension by the high court. However, we have not received the letter from the High Court. That letter should come to the premises.

We have sent him to the district court to extend his term. That is the debate. The judges will tell whether to extend the term or not.

There was an agreement between them in the Press Council. It doesn’t make much sense to apologize or agree somewhere in a criminal case. We put that in our missiles, but that doesn’t make any difference to our research.

It is a fabrication to say that I was arrested on criminal charges

Bipul Pokhrel

President, Federation of Nepali Journalists

One shall not be intimidated about writing news. This is the jurisdiction of the Press Council. The Press Council has already given its opinion on the matter. And, then they have said that it was done carelessly.

The Patan High Court has issued an order not to arrest them, as there is no harm in not arresting them. In this case, going to the media house and arresting the journalist is a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

It is intended to terrorize journalists. This is not acceptable under any circumstances. We are also fighting a legal battle against it. And, we are also pushing the state to stop such activities.

To say that the police arrested on criminal charges is all fabrication. There are legal provisions to seek redressal on the subject of news. Instead of those paths, the state resorted to terrorizing journalists by raising fake issues. This is wrong. There is a serious suspicion that the state is on the path of harassing every media outlet that criticizes it by making false allegations.

It is the ‘spirit’ of Nepal’s constitution that one cannot be imprisoned on the basis of writing news. There is a clear legal provision to seek judicial redressal if anyone complains about the news.

Defamation lawsuits may be filed, and abusive lawsuits may be filed. The existing law has shown the way to find a solution. Apart from that, by introducing the provisions of the Electronic Act, laws like treason have been used to intimidate people. They are not a law that should be reserved for the issues mentioned in the news.

We defend the subject of working in the field of journalism and that is the subject of our ‘concern’.

 

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