(Trinidad Express) Officers of the Special Investigations Unit have executed a search warrant at Radio Jaagriti for evidence in relation to an alleged audio-visual clip, which aired on Tuesday.
Officers, led by Inspector Wayne Stanley, went to the radio station, located at Pasea Main Road, Tunapuna, on Thursday monring with the objective of verifying the authenticity of the clip and to obtain a copy of the recording, for further investigations.
On arrival at the station, the officers met and spoke with two officials and a search warrant for evidence under Section 13 of the Sedition Act, Chapter 11:04, was shown to them.
A master copy of an audio-visual recording was subsequently handed over to investigators.
The entire exercise was incident free, said police.
The police visit happened less than a day after the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) threatened to take action against TV Jaagriti and the Central Broadcasting Services Limited, after statements made during the “Maha Sabha Strikes Back” programme,.
Nine police officers came around and told staff that they were there to execute a search warrant for information relating to comments made on the programme which is hosted by Satnaryan Maharaj.
When officers arrived, they produced a piece of paper which they said was a search warrant.
However, The Express was told by members of staff that the officers never showed the reporters or senior personnel the paper, despite being repeatedly asked.
The officers, The Express was told, also even refused to show the warrant to the legal counsel which was present.
For about 30 minutes the officers were in and out of the building, taking names of reporters and members of staff, recording personal information for persons who were not even involved in the programme, including home addresses.
Speaking to The Express at TV Jaagriti, Maharaj described the incident as an invasion, and an attack on his studios.
He praised his staff for standing up for their rights, after, he claimed, the police failed to show them the warrant. He said this was particularly important as “in this day and age any criminal can claim they have a warrant”.
He also condemned the police “raid” noting that there were legal correspondence with the parties involved.
“We got a legal letter with the wrong date on it. We sent a response indicating as such. The next response we got less than 24 hours later is an invasion of the studios. Of our radio and TV Jaagrati, rather than a response to the lawyers by letter. So I regard this, this is not only an invasion on the rights of the people, this is an invasion on my right to religion because this is a religious station.
You are transgressing my right to practise my religion, because we teach our people here about their religion. So on top of my fundamental rights and legal rights, you are taking over my right to practise my religion.
I want to assure the Hindu community. This will be a hell of a legal fight. And we have confidence in our legal system. We have confidence in our judges and appeal court judges and if we are wrong, let them pronounce. I don’t want any politician to tell me I am wrong. Let the courts decide. So we will see you in court,” Maharaj said.