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Friday 10 July 2020

Journalist who ran ‘fake news’ on Yogi gets bail

Journalist Anuj Shukla, the managing editor of the Noida-based Nation Live channel, has been given the relief by Justice Ajit Singh.

Noida: A journalist of a TV news channel, accused of airing defamatory content on UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in a fraud and forgery case on Tuesday, his lawyer Nitin Gupta said.

Anuj Shukla, the managing editor of the Noida-based Nation Live channel, has been given the relief by Justice Ajit Singh, who heard the matter at court number 80 this morning, Nitin Gupta said. The same court and judge had on 19 July granted bail to journalist Anuj Shukla’s colleague Anshul Kaushik, who worked as a news anchor in the channel, he said.

Both of them were held on 10 June and were since lodged at the Luksar jail in Gautam Buddh Nagar. The channel’s head Ishika Singh was also arrested in the case, in which two separate FIRs were registered at the Phase 3 police station in Noida, but her bail plea is yet to be taken up by the high court.

“Anshul and Anuj had moved the Allahabad High Court to seek relief in the other case after all three were granted bail by a local court in the defamation case. Today, the Allahabad High Court heard Shukla’s plea and granted him bail in the fraud and forgery case,” Gupta said. “We argued that Shukla is only an employee of the channel and had joined in April this year. It was not his domain of work to find out if the news channel was working under an unregistered name. Justice Singh had granted bail to Kaushik on similar grounds,” Gupta, who is representing Kaushik and Shukla, said.

The lawyer, however, said bail orders were yet to be signed by the high court judge and accordingly it would have to be produced in a lower court in order to get the journalist duo freed from jail. One of the FIRs was filed under sections 153 (promoting enmity between different groups), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 [1] (Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report) and 505 [2] (statements conducing to public mischief).

The other FIR was registered under sections 420 (fraud) and 467 (forgery of documents) of the IPC and related offences after it emerged that the channel was “operating illegally” without having the “requisite permissions” from the government to operate under the name ‘Nation Live’.

All three scribes were on 20 June granted bail in the defamation case by the District and Sessions Court, Surajpur, Greater Noida. The police had on 10 June sealed the premises of Nation Live in Sector 65 of Noida under Section 151 of the CrPC, while the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had issued a show-cause notice to the channel for illegal operations.

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