THE BOMBAY High Court, which had last month granted bail to Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) president Dhananjay Desai, had set several conditions for his release, including him not uploading any posts online and refraining from giving speeches.
Desai is an accused in the murder of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh, allegedly an incident of hate crime. Shaikh, an engineer in a private firm, was killed in June 2014, when communal clashes had broken out after the circulation of objectionable pictures of Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray.
The court had asked Desai to file an affidavit stating that he would not give any public speeches and also not run the HRS till the trial is concluded. Following this, on January 24, an affidavit signed by Desai was submitted to the court in the presence of the jailer of Yerwada Central Prison.
It stated: “I undertake that, till the conclusion of trial… pending before the Sessions Court, Pune, the Applicant (Desai) shall not in any manner whatsoever involve in any Public/Political activities related to or organised at the behest of Hindu Rashtra Sena or even otherwise…”
It added: “I shall not participate or deliver any public speeches in any manner whatsoever and shall not work with any other organisation till the conclusion of trial; I undertake not to publish or broadcast any speeches or interviews or bytes on any social media namely WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. in any manner whatsoever organisation till the conclusion of trial…”
In the affidavit, Desai further said that he would withdraw all kiosks, signboards, banners and any publication material related to HRS with immediate effect. He assured that he would restrain his party workers, activists or followers from publishing any hoardings or banners depicting his pictures or posters as well as taking part in any activity pertaining to the HRS till the conclusion of trial.
Desai’s lawyer Abhijeet Ashok Desai had argued before the court that the accused, who were arrested for causing Shaikh’s death, had been granted bail by HC. Seeking bail on the basis of parity, the lawyer had told the court that Desai was not even present at the scene when the crime took place.
Justice Sadhana S Jadhav said, “The nature of accusation are such that it would create disharmony amongst the community. The applicant is founder president of Hindu Rashtra Sena and hence, as on today, this Court is of the opinion that the applicant deserves to be enlarged on bail on imposing certain appropriate conditions based on the accusation against him.”
The court also asked Desai to withdraw his criminal application pending before the HC. Following the withdrawal of the application, the stay on the trial would be vacated.
Shaikh was attacked, allegedly by some youths associated with the HRS, while he was on his way home with a friend in Hadapsar. He later died at a hospital. His brother Mobin Shaikh had filed a complaint of murder with the Hadapsar police, following which, Desai and 20 HRS activists were arrested.