Threat To Fadnavis: Bombay HC Sends Suspect NCP (Sharad Pawar) Worker Back To Judicial Custody

Threat To Fadnavis: Bombay HC Sends Suspect NCP (Sharad Pawar) Worker Back To Judicial Custody

He was arrested for allegedly posting of a video containing threats to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, March 06, 2024, 08:08 PM IST
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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis | PTI

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed the police custody of Yogesh Sawant, an agriculturist and an NCP (Sharad Pawar) worker, and remanded him back to the judicial custody. He was arrested for allegedly posting of a video containing threats to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

HC's observations

Setting aside his police custody, the high court said it was “not sustainable in law”. It also said that Sawant not granted a hearing before transferring him from judicial custody to police custody.

“…. no such notice was issued [to Sawant], and he was not granted an opportunity for a hearing. This omission goes against the fundamental principles of natural justice. This itself is sufficient to warrant interference in the impugned order,” Justice RN Laddha observed.

Sawant's arrest

Sawant was arrested by the Santacruz police on February 29 and was remanded to judicial custody by the Bandra metropolitan magistrate after passing a reasoned order. The magistrate then kept his bail plea for hearing on March 2 while asking the state to file its reply.

Meanwhile, the state approached the Mazgaon sessions court and sought his police custody which was granted. Police invoked IPC section 153(A) for promoting enmity.

Sawant challenges session court's order

Sawant challenged the propriety of this session court order before the HC and sought quashing of the “hasty”’ order. His advocate Prashant Aher argued that the sessions court did not grant an opportunity to Sawant to argue before sending him to police custody till March 7.

State prosecutors, Hiten Venwgavkar and Arfan Sait, opposed the plea saying that Sawant had not contested his arrest and that he was not “unlawfully detained”. They emphasised that the investigation is ongoing.

Venegavkar pointed out that the remand order reveals that Sawant surrendered a different mobile phone, which was not utilised in the crime, while the mobile phone actually used in the crime remains unrecovered. Also, a prior offence has been registered against him for creating and disseminating an objectionable audio clip.

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