FPJ Legal: Bombay HC refuses BJP MLA Nitesh Rane's anticipatory bail plea, says custodial interrogation necessary

Niteen Pradhan, Nitesh’s counsel, had sought a stay on the HC rejection order so they could challenge it before the Supreme Court.

Urvi Mahajani | Updated on: Monday, January 17, 2022, 09:11 PM IST

BJP MLA Nitesh Rane | Photo: NI
BJP MLA Nitesh Rane | Photo: NI

While rejecting the pre-arrest bail plea of BJP MLA Nitesh Rane, the Bombay High Court observed on Monday that his custody was required not only for the purpose of “recovery of any article” but also for “interrogation” which would be “necessary”.

At the court’s request, the prosecution made a statement that it will not take coercive steps against the son of Union minister Narayan Rane till January 27 so he could approach the Supreme Court.

Nitesh, who represents the Kankavali Assembly seat in the Sindhudurg district, had approached the HC seeking pre-arrest bail in connection with the alleged attack on Shiv Sena activist Santosh Parab. The sessions court at Sindhudurg had rejected his plea in December 2021.

In the 24-page order, the court observed: “The custody is not sought only for the purpose of recovery of any article but also for interrogation which would be necessary.”

“The court in such a case is required to balance the conflicting considerations of personal liberty and a need for proper investigation in larger societal interest. At this stage, in my considered view, the proper investigation is the paramount consideration. Thus, I do not find that the Applicants (Nitesh) in ABA No.2 of 2022 is entitled to pre-arrest bail,” said HC while rejecting the plea.

The HC has also taken note of his criminal antecedents which include five cases for criminal intimidation and assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.

There are 26 criminal cases registered against Manish Dalvi, Nitesh’s close associate, including that for an attempt to murder.

Nitesh has claimed that he has been falsely implicated in the case and is being targeted due to political rivalry. He has said that the case has been filed against him in retaliation to the “lampooning” incident outside the Vidhan Bhavan in December 2021.

Besides, he has claimed that the implication was also to prevent him from campaigning for the district cooperative bank election.

A special public prosecutor had pointed out to the court that the attack took place on December 18 whereas the lampooning incident took place on December 23.

The police had called Nitesh on December 24 to record his statement and if the FIR was a retaliation of the catcalling incident, then he would have been arrested then itself.

Agreeing with the prosecution, HC said: “The learned Special PP prima facie appears to be right that if there was an intention to implicate these Applicants on account of the incident of catcall and the elections to the said Bank, they could have been arrested on 24 December 2021 itself.”

The prosecution has contended that Nitesh’s complicity came to light after interrogation of the alleged attacker, Sachin Satpute, on 26 December.

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Published on: Monday, January 17, 2022, 09:11 PM IST