Mumbai Police have slapped the sedition charge on the Independent lawmaker couple from east Maharashtra -- MLA Ravi Rana and his MP wife Navneet Rana -- whose earlier call for the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's private residence had triggered angry protests by Shivsainiks.
On Sunday, a Mumbai court remanded the politician couple in 14-day judicial custody, a day after they were arrested by the Mumbai Police on the charge of 'creating enmity between different groups', rejecting the police's demand for their custody, an official said.
While Navneet Rana will be sent to the Byculla women's jail, her husband will be taken to the Arthur Road jail, the official said.
"Charges under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 124-A (sedition) are made out against them as they had challenged the government machinery and made remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray," public prosecutor Pradip Gharat said.
The court will hear their bail application on April 29, he added.
Under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code, the offence of sedition is committed when any person by words or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law.
Speaking to reporters in Nashik, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil termed 'appropriate' the arrest of the Rana couple.
Separately, police arrested 13 Shiv Sena workers on Sunday for allegedly protesting outside the Khar residence of the Ranas the previous day. The party workers were later released on bail, police said.
The police also registered an FIR against an unidentified person for allegedly hurling stones at the car of former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirit Somaiya near Khar police station on Saturday night, when he had gone to meet the Ranas following their arrest.
Shiv Sena supporters, who had gathered outside the police station, protested against Somaiya's visit and shouted slogans.
While he was leaving the police station in an SUV, some protesters hurled footwear and water bottles at his vehicle.
The city police on Saturday evening arrested Badnera MLA Ravi Rana and his wife Navneet Rana, the MP from Amravati in Maharashtra, for allegedly 'creating enmity between different groups'.
The development came hours after the couple cancelled their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra amid stringent protests by Shiv Sena workers who laid siege to the Khar residence of the Ranas.
The Ranas were booked under Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of prohibitory orders of police), officials earlier said.
The couple was produced before a court in Bandra on Sunday which sent them to judicial custody for 14 days, public prosecutor Gharat said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut defended the arrest of the Ranas, saying there must have been some reason behind the police action.
On the arrest of 13 Shiv Sena workers, a police official said, "They were held for allegedly creating ruckus outside the residence of Ranas in suburban Khar. All the arrested persons are accused of playing a key role in the protest on Saturday. Search is on for other protesters."
The Rana couple had lodged a complaint against Sena workers after which a case of unlawful assembly and rioting was filed.
"Police are going through evidence like media clips, WhatsApp videos to identify the protesters," he said.
All 13 Sena workers were released on bail as sections applied on them are bailable, he added.
"There is no need to give different orders to police, they know their job well. Investigation on who hurled stones at the vehicle of Kirit Somaiya is on as well as the attack on the Ranas. Yesterday, pandemonium was created in the name of Hanuman Chalisa...Police arrested the Rana couple as appropriate action. They will take action in both incidents. The incident which happened yesterday is unfortunate, but everyone should understand and cooperate," Walse Patil told reporters.
Meanwhile, talking about the alleged attack on his SUV, Somaiya claimed that it was 'sponsored by the Uddhav Thackeray government'.
Hitting back, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said 'some traitors do get pelted with stones'.
Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said they will complain to the Union home secretary against the Mumbai police's 'failure' to protect Somaiya, who has 'Z' category security.
Mumbai police also registered an FIR against the driver of Somaiya for allegedly driving the car in a rash and negligent manner on Saturday night, due to which a Shiv Sena corporator and a party worker suffered minor injuries.