MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted pre-arrest bail to Sameet Thakkar, who was booked by the Thane Police for allegedly making defamatory tweets against Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Jitendra Awhad. The HC has asked Thakkar not to post any defamatory content.
A bench of Justice Nitin Sambre was hearing a hearing a plea filed by Thakkar, who is booked on an FIR lodged by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Dinesh Bane, who had allegedly come across a tweet on Thakkar's Twitter handle against the state housing minister.
As per the prosecution's case, there has been a disturbed political atmosphere due to the spat between state's another cabinet minister Nawab Malik and the BJP, following the action of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on drug peddlers.
In his complaint, Bane apprehended that due to this ongoing right, there was every possibility that Thakkar may have posted more such content deliberately to create animosity between the two political parties.
Accordingly, Thakkar was booked under Sections 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes), 500 and 501 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code. He initially had moved the sessions court in Thane but his plea seeking pre-arrest relief was junked. He then petitioned the HC bench of Justice Sambre.
Arguing for Thakkar, his counsel Hrishikesh Mundargi told the court that the alleged offence of creating animosity between two groups or communities isn't made out against his client. He further told the court that his client was merely criticising the state ministers like Awhad and Malik and that there wasn't any instance of any right between two groups after Thakkar's tweet.
In his submissions, Mundargi further emphasised on the fact that the FIR has been lodged due to the political pressure and that the only intention was to falsely implicate Thakkar.
Having heard the contentions, Justice Sambre said that the merits of the case do not warrant Thakkar's arrest. The judge, accordingly granted him pre-arrest relief along with a directive ordering him to make a statement that he will stop putting any such defamatory content.