Mumbai: ‘Shocking’, says court on ex-Republic scribe not visiting police station as per its order

A sessions court that is hearing an application to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to former Republic journalist Pradeep Bhandari, has called his conduct “shocking” of not appearing before the police station for investigation as per its order.

Bhandari had got pre-arrest bail in October last year in a case registered against him by Khar police station for unlawful assembly outside actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow during its demolition by the BMC for illegal alterations. The police allege that he had incited the public to obstruct the demolition.

By an order of October 15, last year, while granting him anticipatory bail, Additional Sessions Judge RM Sadrani had directed him to attend the Khar police station as and when required by the police for investigation. Shortly, on October 21, the Khar police had approached the court to cancel the relief granted to him. It told the court that he was not attending the police station even after the summons. The court had then ordered that he attend the police station every Saturday and that the IO interrogate him preferably on CCTV camera.

The court noted that the said order is in force till the present application for cancellation of his relief is decided. “It is pertinent to mention here that, APP has informed the Court that respondent is not attending the police station as per the order of the Court and disobeying the same. It is shocking,” the court said.

Bhandari’s advocate Shyam Kalyankar informed the court that he had already attended the police station 16 times.

The court directed Bhandari to attend the police station without fail on March 15 and March 16, for investigation. It also directed the IO to complete the investigation relating to Bhandari preferably on CCTV camera and asked Bhandari to cooperate with the police.

The court further asked the journalist to maintain a diary regarding his attendance and the IO to issue an acknowledgement about his attendance.

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