Mumbai: The Bombay high court has refused to grant blanket relief to union minister Narayan Rane in the cases registered against him over controversial remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at a press conference on August 23 in Raigad.
Six FIRs were registered against Rane at Mahad, Nashik, Pune, Thane, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar over his controversial remarks.
He had approached the HC seeking quashing of the six FIRs.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar on Friday, while refusing to grant him relief, said that it would be better if separate petitions were filed for each FIR since it were registered at different police stations.
Justice Shinde said: "The FIRs are of different police stations. Let the challenge to each of the FIR be in separate petitions. Then it will become easier for the prosecution also to take instructions from each police station.”
Rane’s lawyers – counsel Ashok Mundargi and advocate Aniket Nikam – said that they would file separate petitions. Mundargi sought that Rane be protected from arrest in all the FIRs till separate petitions were filed and decided.
Earlier, the prosecution had said that they would not take any coercive action against Rane in the FIR registered by Nashik cyber police. Mundargi prayed that similar relief should be given in other FIRs also. “The prosecution had earlier said they would not take any coercive action against Rane in the FIR registered by the Nashik cyber police. Similar protection should be given in the other cases too,” said Mundargi.
However, the court refused to grant a blanket relief saying that it would have to hear the prosecution as well before passing any such order.
The court, however, said that the police’s earlier statement of no coercive action in the Nashik police station case shall continue till the next date of hearing.
Additional Public Prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik pointed out that Rane had said that he would co-operate with the investigation in the case registered by the Nashik police and was to appear before it on September 25 to record his statement.
Mundargi assured the court that the minister will cooperate and will appear via video conferencing.
Rane was arrested on August 25 afternoon from Ratnagiri and was granted bail later the same day against surety of Rs 15,000.
Six FIRs have been filed so far against Rane over his remark that he would have slapped Thackeray over the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s independence. The remarks had triggered a political row and protests on Tuesday.
The HC has kept the petition for hearing on September 30.