After facing two arrests in a span of less than two weeks, Congress leader Hardik Patel moved an Ahmedabad sessions court on Tuesday with a plea for anticipatory bail. The plea is in relation to an FIR that booked Patel with charges of unlawful assembly and rioting in 2015.
The FIR was registered at Vastrapur police station in Ahmedabad with regard to an assembly at GMDC grounds in 2015. The massive gathering was addressed by Patel seeking constitutional reservation for the Patidar community in Gujarat.
Following the gathering, riots had broken out in several areas of the state. Police action to control the riots resulted in the death of 14 Patidar youths.
Patel has sought anticipatory bail on the grounds that the FIR does not name him as accused and it was rather against the unknown crowd. The application has also submitted that there was no allegation that the crowd was provoked due to Patel’s speech. It was further submitted that upon examination of the FIR, no cases under the offences Patel was charged with (IPC sections 143, 147, 332, 427), are made out against him.
Another ground submitted is that permission was sought for the then assembly by Ketan Patel, who is now with the ruling party and that the demand for reservation by Patel was genuine and legitimate. The application also alleges that Patel has been slapped with several false, frivolous and concocted cases against him and he has thus, been victimised by the ruling party of the state.
“…that due to the political vendetta, the state government is misusing the police machinery and wants to arrest the applicant accused (Patel) with an ulterior motive for wreaking political vengeance on the accused applicant and with a view to spite him due to political grudge,” the application further states.
Patel was arrested on January 17 for skipping appearance at court for a sedition trial. Subsequently, moments after being released on bail from the Sabarmati Central Jail on January 23, Patel was arrested again in relation to a 2015 FIR at Mansa, Gandhinagar.
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