The Maharashtra police on Thursday registered a case against Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia for making a hate speech in the Nanded district of the state last week.
The Centre had directed the Maharashtra government to book the VHP leader if he is found to be violating laws after probing the charges.
The Maharashtra government ordered an inquiry into the provocative speeches made in Nanded last month against members of a particular community even as the state Minorities Affairs Minister Naseem Khan demanded on Thursday that it file a case against the firebrand Hindu outfit leader.
The state government, which has assured the Centre at the highest level that they will take due legal process, was asked by the Centre to investigate allegations that Togadia made provocative speeches.
"The home ministry's advise is clear. Once they have confirmed forensic evidence, appropriate action as per law must be taken against Togadia," an official said in New Delhi.
Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said if Togadia's speech is inflammatory, the state government must take action against him.
The Congress government in the state has reportedly ordered forensic examination of Togadia's alleged hate speech and is now waiting for a detailed report to be able to register a case against him for "inciting communal hatred".
At a public meeting at Bhokar town in Nanded district of Maharashtra on January 22-- details of which are now surfacing after a video recording was posted online -- Togadia had allegedly attacked Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi and members of a particular community.
Owaisi was sent to jail on charges of delivering a hate speech at Nirmal town in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh last month.
Khan said he had spoken to the Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil on Thursday. "He has ordered an inquiry (into Togadia's remarks)," Khan told PTI in Mumbai.
"I have requested the state government to register case against Togadia," he said, adding, "If (Akbaruddin) Owaisi is behind bars for his hate speech, why not Togadia?"
Demanding swift and stringent action against Togadia, Congress leader Digvijay Singh said no religious leader should be allowed to play with communal harmony in the country.
Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Sitaram Yechury too demanded action against Togadia.
The VHP leader had also triggered a controversy by making a controversial speech on February 1 near Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh.
In Delhi, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said "if Togadia has violated any law, the law will take its own course."
Alvi was responding to a volley of questions as to why the Maharashtra government had so far not acted against the VHP leader and whether the high command will give it any direction.