Updated: September 17, 2021 8:21:34 pm
The Maharashtra government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it has extended till September 30 its assurance of protection from coercive action to Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane, who had challenged the FIR filed by the Nashik Cyber Police over his remark against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
After Rane’s counsel sought interim protection from court in the FIRs other than the one registered in Nashik, the HC suggested that he should file separate petitions instead of one. Besides Nashik, the FIRs have been registered at Mahad, Thane, Pune, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar was hearing Rane’s plea seeking to quash the FIRs against him.
“The FIRs are from different police stations of different jurisdictions. Let the challenge to each of the FIR be in separate petitions. It will be more convenient for the prosecution in taking instructions from each police station,” Justice Shinde said, adding the bench will tag all petitions together for hearing.
Rane’s counsel Ashok Mundargi agreed and said that they will file separate petitions and sought an interim protection in all FIRs registered against the Union minister in connection with his August 23 remark.
However, the court said that it would first hear the pleas and then decide on the same.
Additional Public Prosecutor J P Yagnik said that the petitioner had assured that he would cooperate with the probe conducted by Nashik Police and has been asked to appear before it on September 25. Mundargi said that his client will cooperate and as the Nashik Police have sent him a notice under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) asking him to appear before them, he will do so via videoconferencing on September 25.
Rane was arrested on August 24 and later granted bail by the Mahad magistrate court. He had stoked a controversy after his August 23 statement in Raigad that he would have slapped the Maharashtra CM for “not knowing how many years it has been since India gained Independence”.
On August 25, senior advocate Amit Desai, representing the Maharashtra government, had informed the court that no coercive action would be taken against the minister in the Nashik FIR until further orders.
Desai had, however, refused to make a blanket statement on protection in all FIRs and pointed out that the petition only referred to Nashik FIR, while it lacked details of others.
HC will hear Rane’s pleas next on September 30.
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