A court at Mahad in Maharashtra, while granting bail to Union Minister Narayan Rane, said his arrest over his controversial remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was ”justified”, but his custodial interrogation was not necessary.
The order was passed by the court late Tuesday night and a detailed copy of it was made available on Wednesday.
”Considering the reason for arrest and other reasons, I found that the arrest is justified,” magistrate S S Patil said in the order.
The court noted that while a few sections under which Rane was booked were non-bailable, they were not punishable with life or death.
”Considering these factors, no prejudice would be caused to the prosecution if the accused is released on bail,” the court said, adding that "the accused shall not commit a similar type of offence".
Rane was arrested on Tuesday afternoon from Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra following his remarks that he would have slapped Chief Minister Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter's ignorance of the year of India's independence.
The Union minister was produced before magistrate Patil at Mahad in Raigad on Tuesday night.
The police sought his custody for seven days, which the court refused and remanded him to judicial custody till September 4. Rane's advocates then moved a bail application.
The plea was heard and Rane was granted bail on a surety of Rs 15,000. He was directed to appear at the office of superintendent of police in Alibaug (Raigad) on August 30 and September 13.
Rane's advocate Rajendra Shirodkar argued that the police had not followed the mandate of law laid down under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which says in cases where arrest is not warranted, the police ought to first issue a notice/summons to the accused for questioning.
However, the court in its order noted that in this particular section there are grounds given when the police officer can arrest a person without notice/summons.
The magistrate, while refusing to grant Rane's custody to the police, noted that the alleged statement of the accused (Rane) was made before the media.
”The informant (complainant in the case) himself alleged in the FIR that the accused made the statement before the media and it was viral on social media. Considering the nature of the offence, I do not find it necessary to hand over the accused in police custody,” the magistrate said in the order.
While arguing on Rane's bail plea, Shirodkar told the court that the accused was a senior citizen with roots in the society and hence, would not abscond.
He further told the court that he had advised his client (Rane) not to make such statements in public in future, but Rane did not concede to such an undertaking quoting his liberty.
The police opposed the bail plea, arguing that the accused was a Union cabinet minister and was making such irresponsible statements which would create disharmony in society.
The court in its order directed Rane to cooperate with the probe into the case and if police want a voice sample of the minister, then he (Rane) shall assist.
”The only rider is that the police shall give seven-day prior notice to the accused,’ it said.
The court also noted that the police had not followed directions given by the Bombay high court with regard to maintaining a proper case diary.
”Admittedly, the case diary produced before me are two papers which are not paginated,” the magistrate said.
Rane faces four FIRs in Maharashtra over his remarks, which triggered a political row and protests across the state on Tuesday.
The FIR at Mahad was registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 504 (intentional insult to provoke break of public peace) and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief).