SC protects Maha BJP MLA Nitesh Rane from arrest for 10 days, asks him to surrender & get bail

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-01-2022 19:44 IST | Created: 27-01-2022 19:44 IST
SC protects Maha BJP MLA Nitesh Rane from arrest for 10 days, asks him to surrender & get bail
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The Supreme Court Thursday directed Maharashtra Police to not to arrest BJP MLA Nitesh Rane for 10 days in an attempt-to-murder case registered in Sindhudurg district.

Disposing of the pre-arrest bail plea of Rane, son of Union Minister Narayan Rane, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana asked him to surrender before the trial court in the meanwhile, and seek regular bail in the matter.

“The SLP (special leave petition) is disposed of with a direction to the petitioner (Nitesh Rane) to surrender before the trial court and obtain a regular bail and for a period of 10 days, he is protected from arrest,” ordered the bench which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli.

The bench heard submissions from senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Rane, and senior lawyer A M Singhvi on behalf of the state government on the appeal of the BJP MLA against the denial of pre-arrest bail by the Bombay High Court.

“We have not observed anything on merits,” it made clear, saying the trial court would decide the regular bail plea on merits.

At the outset, the bench said: ''Why don't you surrender and go in for regular bail.” After hearing brief submissions from Rohatgi, the CJI turned to Singhvi and observed in lighter vein: ''You are appearing for the state. What is all this, political virus''.

Singhvi said the case is not as simple as projected by Rohatgi.

Rohatgi, initiating the arguments, said the entire case of attempt-to-murder has been “cooked up out of political vendetta''.

“Can the attempt-to-murder case be lodged for a simple injury caused by a paper-cutter. I am saying only two things. One is that it is the case of the paper cutter and two, it is a case of simple injury,” he said.

A small petty case, where a paper cutter is used as the weapon of offence, has been made into an attempt to murder case and “this shows the limit where the state and the ruling party can go against a man who is a two time MLA”.

The Maharashtra police is “more loyal than the king” he alleged, adding that the five cases, which were used as ground showing criminal antecedent of the accused, were “political agitation cases”.

''The conspiracy is to kill this man with a paper cutter at 11 AM in public. And what is charged against me -- Attempt to murder,'' Rohatgi said, adding that the case was cooked up as a retaliation to the ''cat-call'' incident in the state Assembly.

“We are not deciding the appeal after the trial. We are hearing the anticipatory bail and let the trial court decide all these things,” the bench said and asked Rane to secure regular bail from the trial court.

Singhvi said that the accused hatched the conspiracy with accused Satpute.

The Bombay High Court on January 17 had 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 had rejected the anticipatory bail applications of Rane and another accused Sandesh Sawant, but had allowed a similar plea of the third accused in the case, Manish Dalvi.

The case relates to an alleged attack on a Shiv Sena activist in the coastal district.

The high court, in its order, had noted that conducting proper investigation was paramount and that custodial interrogation was required.

''We accept the police's statement that it won't take any coercive action against the applicant (Nitesh Rane) till January 27 by the way of last chance,'' the high court had said.

Nitesh Rane, Sawant and Dalvi had sought anticipatory bail in the case registered against them by the Sindhurdurg police in December 2021 under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

While the Kankavli MLA had claimed he was implicated in a false case due to political reasons, the police asserted that Nitesh Rane was the ''mastermind'' of the attack on a Shiv Sena activist and the prime accused.

The case pertains to alleged attack on Shiv Sena activist Santosh Parab during the campaigning for the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections.

According to the MLA, he was being targeted by Maharashtra's ruling party (Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA government) as it felt insulted and hurt by an alleged incident of mocking outside the state legislature complex last month.

A Shiv Sena MLA had alleged that Nitesh Rane had made 'meow meow' sounds looking in the direction of Maharashtra minister and Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray while he was going inside the Vidhan Bhavan building in Mumbai on December 23 during the winter session of the legislature.

The Kankavli police had opposed Nitesh Rane's application stating that it was fallacious to say that he was being targeted due to political reasons or because of a 'dharna' he had held outside the Vidhan Bhavan on December 23, 2021.

Apart from Nitesh Rane, Dalvi and Sawant, six more persons have been named as accused in the case and arrested.

The Rane family was associated with the Shiv Sena for long before falling out with the party.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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