Congress MLA from Wankaner, Mohammed Javid Pirzada, and four others surrendered before police in Wankaner on Monday after the Gujarat High Court rejected their plea seeking quashing of a case of atrocities and damaging public property registered against them in 2012. However, police released them soon after completing the formality of arrest as the MLA and others were granted anticipatory bail.
Pirzada, who is a four-time MLA, surrendered to Deputy Superintendent of Police (SC/ST) cell of Morbi Banno Joshi, on Monday after the Gujarat High Court granted him anticipatory bail last week. He was formally placed under arrest at Wankaner town police station at 11:45 am and released on bail at 2 pm. Along with Pirzada, four others —Mohammad Sheikh, Yunus Sherasiya, Abdul Chaudhary and Jalal Patel – were also arrested and subsequently released after the formality of arrest was completed.
The DySP said that the MLA and other accused had moved the Gujarat High court seeking quashing of the FIR registered against them at Wankaner town police station on September 9. 2012. “But the High Court rejected that plea and vacated the stay on investigation. Subsequently, the accused secured anticipatory bail and, as per court order, they appeared before us. We arrested them formally, and as per court order, released them after completing formalities of arrest,” Joshi told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
Pirzada and the four were booked by police after KL Bhagora, then taluka development officer (TDO) of Wankaner, filed a complaint stating that the accused abused him and damaged property in the Wankaner taluka panchayat while making a representation over some issue. Sherasiya’s wife was then president of Wankaner taluka panchayat.
The Congress MLA claimed that the case was politically motivated. “As a matter of fact, I went to the taluka panchayat office on that day after two officers of the taluka panchayat informed that unruly groups of farmers were creating a ruckus there. I had gone to pacify them and help the officers. But five days later, the then TDO filed a police complaint. It was a politically motivated case,” Pirzada told The Indian Express over phone. “If I had indeed abused him, why did he, a Class-II officer, file a complaint on September 2, 2012, that is five days after the incident? That means, there was pressure on him to damage me politically. For the very reason, the court has granted us protection against arrest,” Pirzada said.
Bhagora belongs to a tribal community.
Wankaner is part of Morbi district and Pirzada is the second Congress MLA from that district to have faced police action. Parsottam Sabariya, the Congress MLA from Dhrangadhra Assembly seat, which covers Halvad taluka of Morbi district was arrested by police last October for his alleged involvement in an irrigation scam case. The Gujarat High court had granted him bail on February 20 this year. Sabariya had then resigned as MLA and joined the BJP in early March this year.
Pirzada’s arrest comes as he is campaigning for Congress candidate Lalit Kagathara for the Lok Sabha election. Wankaner and Tankara Assembly seats are the only segments in Rajkot Parliamentary constituency that are controlled by the Congress. The rest five Assembly segments are with the BJP.