The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reserved the order on a bail petition moved by Alpesh Kathiriya, one of the close aides of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, who is behind the bars in a 2015 sedition case.
Katheriya is in jail since his arrest in August. The arrest of Katheriya, a resident of Surat, had triggered riots in Surat and it led to several agitation by Patidar groups.
Opposing his bail plea, public prosecutor Mitesh Amin argued that the chargesheet is yet to be filed against Katheriya, who is involved in a grave offence. Amin argued that apart from the sedition case, Katheriya is facing eight criminal cases. In the sedition case, Amin argued, Katheriya was allegedly involved in a conspiracy to create unrest in the state.
Other than Katheriya, the sedition case was lodged on October 21, 2015 with the Cyber Cell of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch against Hardik Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya, Chirag Patel, among others, who were the core leaders of Patidar agitation.
They were accused of inciting violence allegedly to topple the state government under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code. The case is based on phone conversations among the accused who were purportedly heard talking about “blocking highways, burning Gujarat”.
The FIR also alleged that Hardik in his speeches had allegedly spoken about “becoming Bhagat Singh and bombing the Assembly.” All the accused have been released on bail while one accused Amrish Patel is yet to be arrested.
Katheriya argued that police did not bother to arrest him soon after the FIR was lodged in 2015. He has said that he remained in full public view, participating in rallies, giving media interviews, among others. He has argued that investigation was completed long ago and that there was no point in keeping him in jail now.
On a question of not cooperating with the police, Katheriya’s lawyer argued that it was Katheriya who kept telling the policemen to arrest him. As a matter of fact, he produced a letter, said to be written by a police inspector, which purportedly stated that there was no need for his arrest. After hearing the arguments, Justice A Y Kogje reserved the order for pronouncement.
Quota stir: Deadline for giving affidavits to probe panel Revised to Nov 25
The last date for submitting affidavits before the justice (retired) K A Puj Commission, which is probing alleged police atrocities on Patidars during the quota agitation in 2015, has been extended till November 25.
The commission was set up by the state government in October 2017 to probe the violence that occured at GMDC ground in Ahmedabad and later spread to various parts of the state causing riots, arson and damage to public and private properties. The initial deadline was May 25, 2018, which was extended to June 30.
The term of the commission has been extended to March 31, 2019.