New Delhi: Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari - who has challegned UP Police summons over the Ghaziabad assault case - told the Karnataka High Court today "I have nothing to do with any of the allegations... some accused uploaded a video but they have registered a FIR against me."
"I am in Bangalore. The police sent sent the notice via email. I responded stating I am not in a position to come to Ghaziabad instead offered to appear via online. But they want my physical presence," he said.
The plea before the Karnataka High Court was filed on June 23 - after Ghaziabad police summoned Maheshwari for questioning. He had been given seven days to appear before the police and record his statement.
This morning police sources said he was expected at the Loni police station at 10.30 am. However, he has not appeared so far, according to Atul Sonkar, the Circle Officer quoted by news agency PTI.
On Monday, Maheshwari had declared himself available for questioning via a video call. The offer was rebuffed by the police, who insisted on his physical presence. They also served notice to Twitter India's Resident Grievance Officer, Dharmendra Chatur, to report for questioning.
An FIR was filed last week against Twitter India, several journalists and Congress leaders after an elderly man - Abdul Samad - alleged he was thrashed by some others and forced to chant "Jai Sri Ram" and "Vande Mataram". A video of the incident was widely shared on social media.
Those named - who include journalists Rana Ayyub and Saba Naqvi, and Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Shama Mohamed and Maskoor Usmani - were accused of posting and sharing "misleading" tweets, and the video, and "provoking communal sentiments".
Earlier this week the Bombay High Court granted Rana Ayyub four weeks transit anticipatory bail in connection with this case.
Twitter India had been ordered to delete certain posts but initially failed to do so.
This week PTI quoted sources as saying the company had "withheld" 50 tweets after receiving a legal request to do so. The sources said the tweets contained content related to the video clip.
"You couldn't remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities. You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them," the notice summoning Maheshwari had said.
The police have denied any "communal angle" in the case, claiming the man was beaten up over amulets he sold. They alleged he was attacked by six persons - Hindu and Muslim - known to him.
This is the first time a case has been filed against the social media giant after the centre's new rules for online news publishing platforms came into effect.
The Editors Guild of India condemned the filing of cases against news website The Wire and several journalists for their tweets. It said it was "deeply concerned by UP Police's track record of filing FIRs against journalists to deter them from reporting serious incidents without fear of reprisals".