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UP Police books Google’s Sundar Pichai, others over ‘defamatory’ video; removes names from FIR later


PTI, Feb 12, 2021, 2:48 PM IST

New Delhi: Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi had booked Google CEO Sundar Pichai and 17 others last week over a video that allegedly defamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi but later removed the tech giant officials’ names from the FIR, police officials said on Friday.

The names of Pichai and three other Google top officials were removed after they were found “not involved” in the case, a police official privy to the probe told PTI over the phone.

The FIR was lodged following a complaint by a local resident who claimed that he got over 8,500 threat calls on his mobile phone after he objected to the video that he first came across in a WhatsApp group and later on YouTube, where it has over five lakh views, the officials said.

Besides the US-based Pichai, others named in the FIR are three Google India officials including Sanjay Kumar Gupta, according to the FIR lodged at Bhelupur police station on February 6.

Google’s response over the case is awaited.

Among the rest named in the FIR are Ghazipur district-based musicians who allegedly made the video song, a recording studio and a local music label company.

The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), 500 (defamation), 120B (party to a criminal conspiracy).

Charges under the Information Technology Act’s section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material) have also been invoked against the accused, according to the FIR, which has been accessed by PTI.

“The names of Google officials were removed from the FIR the same day as it turned out that they were not involved in the case. Investigation on other points is underway,” an official from the local Bhelupur police station told PTI.

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