Republic TV's Consulting Editor Pradeep Bhandari was "detained" by Mumbai Police for several hours on Saturday and was released after a massive uproar, the network said.
After being released, Bhandari said, the police tried to arrest him despite an anticipatory bail by a court, allegedly due "pressure from the top."
Republic TV accused Mumbai Police of illegally detaining Bhandari after he appeared at Khar police station despite being granted anticipatory bail by a Mumbai court. A report by the television channel also stated that Bhandari was denied access to his lawyers. Bhandari said his phone was confiscated as police officials surrounded him.
Last week, Khar Police had issued summons to Bhandari for allegedly assembling a crowd outside Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut's house at the time of its demolition last month.
What is the allegation against Pradeep Bhandari?
Mumbai Police is probing a case filed against him for generating disturbance outside actor Kangana Ranaut’s office in Pali Hill last month during its demolition by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
He was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for assault or using criminal force on a public servant to deter him from discharge of duty.
According to a Republic TV report, Police had alleged that Bhandari pushed cops while he was reporting on BMC's demolition of Kangana's office. A complaint was filed against Bhandari - under Articles 188 - (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of IPC and 37(1), 135 of the Bombay Police Act.
On Thursday, Bhandari was granted anticipatory bail by a sessions court in a case filed against him by the Khar Police. Additional Sessions Judge RM Sadrani while granting pre-arrest bail to the journalist directed that in the event of arrest he be released on executing a personal bond of Rs 15,000 and a surety of the same amount.
Only questioning: Mumbai Police
Khar Police said Bhandari was questioned for almost five hours in connection to the case lodged against him for obstructing police officers from their duty. Police said that Bhandari had arrived at Khar Police Station on Saturday noon and was questioned in connection with the case filed against him for generating disturbance outside actor Kangana Ranaut’s office.
Abhishek Trimukhe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 9) said that Bhandari was called in for questioning and he left after that. He was not detained but only questioned, added the DCP.
Support on Twitter
To support Bhandari over what his supporters called as the "illegal detention" by Mumbai Police, several hashtags were trending yesterday as well. These included - #FreePradeepBhandari and #ShameOnMahaGovt. #PresidentRuleInMaharashtra was also amongst the top trends.