Hours after being arrested over his remarks against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Union Minister Narayan Rane was granted bail by a court at Mahad late on Tuesday night. The magistrate's court denied the police's request for custody, but asked Rane to attend the Mahad police station on two days.
"It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech (on August 15). Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap," Rane had said during the BJP's Jan Ashirwad Yatra on Monday
His remarks prompted a political row, with angry protests by workers of the ruling Shiv Sena. There were stone pelting incidents in Mumbai and several other major cities of the state, and some BJP offices were vandalised by Shiv Sena cadres. Yuva Sena activists and the BJP even clashed near Rane's residence on the Juhu Tara Road in Mumbai's Santacruz (West).
Multiple cases were registered against him at Raigad, Nashik and Pune with Rane eventually being arrested and taken to Mahad in Raigad district on Tuesday afternoon. He was taken into custody at Golwali, in Ratnagiri district and handed over to Raigad police around 2.45 pm. The case had been registered under IPC sections 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of public peace), and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief).
"Satyamev Jayate," Rane tweeted on his way back to Mumbai after getting bail. The government had sought seven-day police custody for the BJP leader to investigate any possible conspiracy to tarnish the reputation of the chief minister. Bail was granted on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 15,000.
State BJP president Chandrakant Patil dubbed his bail a "victory for BJP" and said that the outcome was a 'slap' on the face of the state government. "The manner in which Rane was arrested by this government... the court has slapped them. For the last 20 months, this government is being slapped on every occasion," he said.
Rane's lawyers had opposed the application citing his health condition, arguing that the 69-year-old suffered from sugar and blood pressure issues. They further argued that the offenses under IPC for which Rane was arrested were all punishable with less than seven years and hence his custody was unnecessary. His lawyers contended that the Rajya Sabha leader's arrest was illegal as no summons had been issued to him under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure prior to it.
(With inputs from agencies)
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