Sixty-five-year-old Parwez Parvaz, who had moved the Allahabad High Court seeking registration of an FIR against Yogi Adityanath, has been convicted in a 2018 gangrape case. The district sessions court of Gorakhpur sentenced him to life imprisonment along with another co-accused.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Parvaz had in 2017 moved the HC against Yogi, who was then an MP from Gorakhpur, alleging that he gave a hate speech.
In 2018, after the High Court allowed the UP government to not prosecute Adityanath — now the chief minister of UP — Parvaz filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the order, the report stated.
Earlier, BJP leader YD Singh had made an appeal at Gorakhpur court alleging that Parvaz, also a journalist, had produced doctored video as evidence in the case against Adityanath.
In his complaint, Parvaz had named the then Gorakhpur MP Adityanath, the then MLC YD Singh, the then mayor of the city Anju Chaudhary and now state minister Shiv Pratap Shukla for having incited the Gorakhpur communal riots of 2007.
A report in The Wire had quoted Parvaz as saying that ever since he pressed charges against Adityanath, he has faced multiple threats, including false criminal charges on him. Two cases in which he is then accused were of rioting and rape. He had been lodged in jail in the rape case.
"Imagine, Pervez is a second accused in the rape case, but he was denied bail, while the main accused is out. Most witnesses have said that there was no such incident at the spot where the complainant has accused the two of rape," Syed Farman Naqvi, counsel for Parvaz, was quoted in a 2018 report.
Naqvi further said that the police arrested him just because "the complainant named one Parwez" in her FIR.
The report stated his counsel as saying that Adityanath had owned up to his provocative speech in a popular television show. The CID, too, in its DFR, had categorically said that "there was enough evidence to prosecute the BJP leaders".
The focus, however, has now taken been shifted with Parvaz's conviction. "District and Sessions Judge Govind Vallabh Sharma on Tuesday sentenced the two accused – Parwez Parvaz and Mehmood alias Jumman – to life imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each on both and ordered that Rs 40,000 from the fine be given to the gangrape victim," government counsel Yashpal Singh was quoted as saying by IE.
Parvaz's lawyer Miftahul Islam, meanwhile, said that they will be challenging the conviction in a higher court.
The man was arrested in September 2018 after a 40-year-old woman accused him and Mehmood alias Jumman Baba (66) of gangrape on June 3, 2018.
In her police complaint, the woman had alleged that she had gone to the house of Jumman Baba on June 3, 2018 for "seeking remedies" for her marital problems, when he took her to an isolated place and raped her at gunpoint along with "someone who Jumman called Parvez bhai".
Islam alleged that the court did not allow the defence to submit written arguments on Tuesday."Without concluding the arguments, the judgment was pronounced. There were no arguments and we were not allowed to submit our written arguments as well," Islam said.
But the government counsel said that lawyers were given enough time to submit their arguments. "They (the defence counsels) were stalling the court proceedings in order to delay it. They had ample time to argue. The court proceedings were held as per the law," Yashpal Singh was quoted as saying.
In May 2017, after the BJP came to power in UP and Adityanath became the CM, the state government refused to give sanction to prosecute Adityanath and four other BJP leaders in the 2007 hate speech case.
The state had refused to grant sanction, saying the "video evidence (CD)" sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in 2014 was "tampered" with, the IE report stated.
In February 2018, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by Parvaz and his colleague Asad Hayat, challenging the UP government’s refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Adityanath in the hate speech case.
"The Special Leave Petition against the High Court judgment is pending in the Supreme Court," Naqvi was quoted by IE.