The Bombay High Court on Friday refused to grant protection from arrest to Union Minister Narayan Rane and asked him to file separate petitions for each FIR registered against him for his “slap Uddhav Thackeray” remark.
Narayan Rane had filed a petition in August seeking relief in cases registered against him in Nashik and elsewhere. He is now seeking to quash the FIRs against him in six police stations across the state over his controversial statement against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Cases have been lodged against him at Mahad, Nashik, Pune, Thane, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar.
Advocates Ashok Mundargi and Aniket Nikam, appearing for Rane, pointed out that all the six FIRs emanated from one single statement. The Union minister was arrested by Mahad police on August 24 and was granted bail by court later that day.
On Friday, the division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar said that it would be better if separate petitions are filed for each of the FIRs.
“The FIRs are of different police stations. Let the challenge to each of the FIR be in separate petitions. Then it will become easier for the prosecution also to take instructions from each police station,” the court said.
Rane’s lawyers agreed and sought interim protection from arrest in all the cases. “The prosecution had earlier said they would not take any coercive action against Rane in the FIR registered by the Nashik cyber police. Similar protection should be given in the other cases too,” Mundargi said.
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Government pleader Jayesh Yagnik stressed that Rane should file the petition first before any relief can be granted.
The court agreed and said it would first hear the pleas and then decide. It said the police’s earlier statement of no coercive action in the Nashik police station case shall continue till the next date of hearing.
Yagnik pointed out that Rane had assured that he would cooperate with the investigation being carried out by the Nashik police and has to appear before it on September 25 to record his statement. Mundargi said Rane would cooperate and appear via video conferencing.
Rane had been granted bail in one case and was granted protection from arrest in another. As yet there are four other cases where he is not protected from arrest. The court posted the case for further hearing on September 30.
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