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Lawyer booked for FB post, faces arrest

Complainant says he posted comments hurtful to Muslims.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: December 14, 2014 8:19:24 am

The Mumbai Police on Friday booked a Kurla-based lawyer for an allegedly objectionable post on social networking site Facebook containing comments that investigators say could hurt religious sentiments of the Muslim community.

According to the complaint filed at the RAK Marg police station in Wadala, the lawyer, Vijay Gaikwad, allegedly posted offensive remarks against Prophet Mohammed. Following protests outside the police station late Friday night, Gaikwad was booked under various sections of the IPC, including Section 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts), 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 500 (punishment for defamation), along with sections 66(A) and 67 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000.

If Gaikwad is arrested, his would be the first major arrest in the state under Section 66 (A) of the IT Act after the arrest of two girls from Palghar for their Facebook posts on late Bal Thackeray.

According to complainant Moin Khan, also a lawyer, Vijay is related to Umesh Gaikwad, an office-bearer of the VHP in Mumbai. Umesh, however, denied the claim.

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“He (Vijay Gaikwad) is my Facebook friend. I checked his posts on December 12 after returning from office. He had posted comments on Prophet Mohammad. I found it hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim community. I drafted the complaint with the help of another advocate, Raj Awasthi, and approached the police,” Khan said.

Awasthi said almost 1,000 people gathered near the police station on Friday night. “The FIR was registered only after much protest,” he said.
Khan said, “We came to know Gaikwad was called by Kurla police station late night. He used his political clout to avoid arrest. We are demanding his immediate arrest.”

However, senior police inspector Arun Inarkar of RAK Marg police station said the arrest under the IT Act cannot be done without permission from seniors.

“We need permission from the joint commissioner of police. The FIR and related documents have been sent to the deputy commissioner,” he said. The officer added that investigators needed to also verify the authenticity of the posts before any arrest. “As soon as we get permission, we will arrest Gaikwad,” he added.

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