Arif Masood
Arif Masood

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to Congress MLA Arif Masood in a criminal case in connection with a protest against the French president in Bhopal last month.

On October 29, Masood had led a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron over a row sparked by prophet Mohammad's cartoon in France.

A First Information Report was registered against Masood in Bhopal under IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) following the protest and his speech.

He moved the high court after his anticipatory bail application was rejected by the lower court in Bhopal.

While granting him relief, the high court asked Masood to cooperate with investigators and not to leave Bhopal without informing the local police station, said his lawyer Ajay Gupta.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Sujoy Paul observed that "the applicant is an elected representative of the people and there is no possibility of his fleeing from justice".

"The objectionable material, speech is already in possession of the police and there is no possibility of tampering by the applicant with the recorded version," the court said.

In the event of arrest, Masood should be released on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 along with one surety of like amount, the court said.

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