New Delhi, June 14: The Supreme Court on Sunday granted interim protection from arrest till July 6 to journalist Vinod Dua in a sedition case filed against him following a complaint by a local BJP leader in Shimla over his YouTube show.

In a special hearing Sunday, a bench comprising Justices U U Lalit, M M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran refused to stay the investigation but ordered the Himachal Pradesh Police to give him 24 hours time to join the probe, The Indian Express reported.

The order came after Dua filed a plea seeking quashing of the sedition case.

Dua has been charged under sections 124A (sedition), 268 (public nuisance), 501 (printing matter known to be defamatory) and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief) on the basis of a complaint last month by BJP’s Mahasu unit president Ajay Shyam. The BJP leader claimed that Dua made bizarre allegations on his 15-minute YouTube show on March 30.

The complainant has alleged that the journalist accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using “deaths and terror attacks” to get votes.

The police in Shimla had summoned the journalist for questioning over a sedition complaint by a local BJP leader. Himachal Pradesh police personnel also visited his Delhi residence on Friday morning to serve the notice.

In his reply to the notice, Dua said he cannot visit Kumarsain police station because of his health, age and the COVID-19 protocol for travel and quarantine. 

The BJP leader alleged that Dua had instigated violence against the government and the prime minister by spreading false and malicious news.

Besides this, the Delhi High Court had earlier stayed an investigation into a similar case filed by BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar against the journalist for allegedly “misreporting the Delhi riots”, “false contextual reporting” when Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP, and his comments on the “Vyapam scam”.

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