‘Surrender and seek bail': Nitesh Rane gets 10-day arrest shield from SC

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‘Surrender and seek bail’: Nitesh Rane gets 10-day arrest shield from SC
© Provided by Hindustan Times BJP MLA Nitesh Rane’s lawyers told the Supreme Court that the two-time MLA is being framed. (HT Photo/Bhushan Koyande)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted Maharashtra BJP MLA Nitesh Rane protection from arrest for ten days in connection to an attempt to murder case to let him surrender and seek regular bail from the trial court.

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A bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana made it clear that the court is not commenting on the merits of the case, and that the interim protection for 10 days is granted to Rane for the purpose of him seeking regular bail from the trial court concerned.

“We are not going to decide the facts…That is for the trial court. You surrender and seek regular bail,” the bench, which also comprised justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli, told Rane’s lawyers.

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Rane is accused of being the mastermind behind the attempt on the life of a Shiv Sena member on December 18 last year in the Kankavli area of Maharashtra. Rane, son of union minister Narayan Rane, represents Kankavli assembly seat in the Sindhudurg district.

Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Sidharth Luthra, representing Rane, argued that the charges against the leader were “completely bogus”.

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“The prosecution’s version is that there was a ‘deep-rooted conspiracy’ to stab the complainant with a ‘paper-cutter’. This shows the extent to which the state and the ruling party will go against my client who is a two-time MLA. This is a case of the police being more loyal than the king,” Rohatgi and Luthra submitted.

The senior lawyers added that the alleged victim was roaming around the day after the alleged incident in December 2021. “How can you have a conspiracy, hire killers to cause a simple injury with a paper-cutter on the complainant, who is a member of an opposition party? Can this version be believed?” asked the lawyers.

Appearing for the Maharashtra government, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposed Rane’s appeal against denial of anticipatory bail by the Bombay high court on January 17.

“My learned friends are trying to over-simplify the incident. The weapon is not a blunt paper-cutter found on a study table but a formidable one, which caused serious harm. There is evidence to show a link between the petitioner, his close associates and the attack. A detailed investigation has been done along with a test identification parade,” contended Singhvi.

The bench decided to dispose of Rane’s petition by asking him to approach the trial court for regular bail while protecting him from any coercive action from the police for the time being.

The case was registered against Rane after a Shiv Sena member filed a police complaint, alleging he was assaulted by certain persons linked with the MLA. The incident took place in December during the campaigning for the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank election.

The Bombay high court on January 17 refused to grant pre-arrest bail to Rane in the case, noting that a balance was needed between conflicting considerations of personal liberty and a proper investigation in the matter.

A single-judge bench of the high court, which rejected the anticipatory bail applications of Rane and another accused Sandesh Sawant, allowed a similar plea of the third accused in the case, Manish Dalvi.

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