New Delhi [India], April 15 (ANI): The Delhi High Court recently refused to quash an FIR lodged against a man who allegedly used Prime Minister Narender Modi's name and picture to collect funds from people in an advertisement broadcast on YouTube and national news channels.

It is also alleged that he was running a trust using the PM's surname and was arrested on February 9 this year. He has already been granted bail.

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Justice Amit Mahajan dismissed the petition moved by Pawan Pandey seeking quashing of FIR lodged by the Special Cell of Delhi Police last year.

Justice Amit Mahajan said that specific allegations have been made that the petitioner is collecting donations and funds by using the surname of Prime Minister of India.

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"The picture of the Hon'ble Prime Minister has also been used, whereas, admittedly, the petitioner's surname is not 'MODI'. The advertisements have been broadcasted on YouTube and other National News channels with the picture of the Hon'ble Prime Minister," Justice Mahajan said in the order.

The bench held, "The allegations, therefore, are that the petitioner is dishonestly inducing people to deliver the property in the form of donations. The FIR, therefore, discloses commission of cognizable offences."

"When the allegations, as noted in the FIR, disclose the commission of cognizable offence, the Court is not required to consider on merits, whether the allegations make out a cognizable offence or not at the initial stage and the Court has to permit the investigating agency to investigate," the bench said.

The FIR was registered on a complaint filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs alleging that the petitioner is running an NGO in the name of Modi Charitable Trust and misrepresenting in the name of the PM Modi.

It was also alleged that the petitioner is using the picture of PM Modi along with his own picture on National News Channel for deceiving the public at large which was evidenced by an advertisement broadcasting the picture of the petitioner along with Prime Minister Modi, with the name of the Trust run by the petitioner.

While seeking quashing of FIR, petitioner submitted that trust was registered with different social objectives such as education, establishment of schools, providing hostels, library etc.

Petitioner's counsel submitted that the FIR does not disclose any criminal offence at all, much less any offence under Section 420/419 of the IPC.

He also submitted that the FIR has been registered only with the intention to harass and humiliate the petitioner and, therefore, the present FIR deserves to be quashed.

On the other hand, Additional Standing Counsel (ASC) for State submitted that the petitioner has cheated and dishonestly induced the public at large by running an NGO - 'Modi Charitable Trust', which in itself reflects the usage of the surname of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

The petitioner's name is 'Pawan Pandey' and his surname, that is, 'Pandey' is not in any way connected with the surname 'Modi' and, therefore, the usage of the surname 'Modi' shows mala fide on the part of the petitioner, ASC argued. (ANI)

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