Sameet Thakkar, who was arrested by Nagpur Police last week for allegedly posting defamatory content against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son and cabinet minister Aaditya, was granted bail by a Nagpur court on Monday but was rearrested by Mumbai Police minutes later after the same court granted them his custody in a similar case.
The Mumbai Police FIR registered in July is regarding his tweets in the last week of June and first week of July, and the Nagpur Police FIR is based on tweets put out by him in the last week of July. The tweets are similar in nature whereby the Thackerays along with other leaders of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra are allegedly called objectionable names. Also, he allegedly had “abusive communal exchanges” with members of the minority community on Twitter.
Thakkar’s lawyer Prakash Jaiswal said that apart from the FIR at VP Road police station for which Mumbai Police got his custody, there is another FIR at BKC police station in Mumbai against Thakkar. These two FIRs are in addition to the FIR registered at Nagpur.
“We have moved the Supreme Court to club these offences. Offences for the same issue cannot be registered in different parts of the country,” Jaiswal said. He said Thakkar was brought to court with his face covered and there was heavy security cover “as if he was a terrorist”.
When he was arrested, Jaiswal had told the court that the case smacked of “political intolerance” and that “if people were to be arrested for such remarks on Twitter, then we will have to create special Twitter jails.”
Advocate Dharam Mishra from Shiv Sena’s legal cell, who is the complainant in the case, said, “He insulted persons holding Constitutional posts by making derogatory and abusive statements, outraged the modesty of women by posting obscene material and also used abusive language against Supreme Court judges.”
Jaiswal opposed the Mumbai Police application for custody, arguing that “Mumbai is a Covid-prone city… and the police could be Covid positive” and this could “adversely impact the health of the applicant”. The court, however, gave his custody to Mumbai Police and asked it to ensure that precautions are taken. Thakkar will be produced before a local court in Mumbai on Tuesday.
An FIR was lodged against Thakkar, a businessman, at Sitabuldi police station in Nagpur on August 12 on the basis of a complaint by Manish Tiwari, said to be an aide of Sena MLC Dushyant Chaturvedi. He was granted relief by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, which ordered the police on August 28 to refrain from taking coercive action against him. The court asked him to report to the police station daily, which Thakkar didn’t do. The HC had then dismissed his petition on October 20, paving the way for his arrest.
He was then arrested on October 25 by Nagpur Police from Rajkot.
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