'Toolkit' case: BJP's Patra skips appearance before C'garh cops, cites personal reasons

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Raipur, May 23 (PTI) BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra on Sunday did not appear in person or online as directed before Raipur police in Chhattisgarh in connection with an FIR registered against him and senior colleague Raman Singh over an alleged fake toolkit, officials said.

Patra, who was asked to appear at 4 pm on Sunday before personnel from Civil Lines police station, where the FIR is registered, exempted himself citing personal reasons, they added.

The FIR was registered against Raman Singh, BJP vice president and former chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Patra, and others in Raipur on May 19 under the charges of spreading fake news and promoting enmity between classes in the alleged toolkit row.

The case was filed at the Civil Lines police station following a complaint lodged by Akash Sharma, president of the National Students’ Union of India’s (NSUI) Chhattisgarh unit who alleged that Singh, Patra and others had circulated a fake 'toolkit' using the letterhead of the Congress.

“Patra did not appear before police investigators. As per his advocate, Patra was busy in some personal engagements and sought one week to appear before police,” said Civil Lines station house officer R K Mishra.

A similar notice has been served on Singh asking him to remain present in his residence at 12:30 pm on Monday for the recording of the statement in connection with the case, the Civil Lines police official added.

“In the notice, Civil Lines police said that Patra is a suspect in the case of the alleged toolkit. Therefore, it has been directed to him to appear either in person or through a video conference on May 23 at 4 pm for the investigation of the case. Not complying with the notice is going to attract legal action,” the officer had said.

Twitter recently labelled as 'manipulated media' a tweet of Patra on the alleged toolkit prepared by Congress to target the Narendra Modi government.

The Congress had on Thursday written to Twitter asking it to permanently suspend the accounts of BJP president J P Nadda, Union minister Smriti Irani, Patra and other BJP leaders for allegedly 'spreading misinformation and unrest in the society'.

The Congress had said the toolkit documents flagged by the BJP are 'fake' and has filed a police complaint against its leaders.

The BJP has been attacking Congress over some controversial content of the so-called 'Covid' toolkit. PTI COR BNM NSK NSK

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