Republic TV’s consulting editor and reporter Pradeep Bhandari was on Thursday granted anticipatory bail by a sessions court in a case filed against him by the Khar police in connection with the disturbance created by a mob that included Bhandari outside actor Kangana Ranaut’s office in Bandra last month during its demolition.
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 and that the Khar police station be informed accordingly.
Bhandari has been directed to furnish his detailed address and contact number to the investigating officer and attend the police station when summoned.
The court also directed him not to either directly or indirectly make inducement or threat to anyone to prevent them from disclosing information regarding the case to the police or the court. He has also been restricted from leaving the country without the court’s permission.
Appearing for the journalist, counsel Abad Ponda argued on Thursday that an offence under Sec 353 of the IPC pertaining to assault or criminal force on public servant to deter him from discharge of duty, is not made out and that by the contents of their own complaint, Bhandari had used abusive language only.
Advocate Ponda also told the court that the complaint was registered with a delay of five days and if Bhandari had indeed used force then he would have been booked immediately as 20 to 30 policemen were present on bandobast duty at the spot during the demolition.
The police had booked Bhandari for the offences under the IPC of disobeyance of order promulgated by a public servant, assault or criminal force on a public servant to deter him from discharging duty among sections of the Bombay Police Act.
They had alleged that the channel had paid people to make them assemble outside Ranaut’s bungalow during its demolition and the mob of which he was a part, had created disturbance for public servants while discharging their duty.
The BMC had demolished part of her office in Pali Hill, in Bandra on 9 September citing illegal alterations made in it. The demolition had come after tension developed between her and the Shiv Sena following her comments on the Mumbai police and the state’s handling of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case.