A Magistrate Court at Mahad in Raigad district of Maharashtra has granted bail to Union Minister Narayan Rane in one of the First Information Reports (FIR) filed against him for allegedly making derogatory statements against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Presently there are four FIRs lodged against Rane. Apart from the FIR at Mahad, the three other FIRs are at Pune, Nashik and Thane.
The FIRs were lodged for offences under Sections 500 (defamation), 505(2) (statements leading to mischief) 153A (promoting enmity to disrupt harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.
Rane was produced before Judicial Magistrate Shaikhbabaso S Patil late in the evening at 9.45 pm.
Government Pleader Bhushan Salvi sought custody of 7 days in order to conduct further investigation in the case.
He argued that it was important to investigate any possible conspiracy to demean the reputation of the Chief Minister.
A responsible politician like Rane made an irresponsible statement, Salvi submitted.
Opposing the application, Senior Advocate Rajendra Shirolkar appearing for Rane argued that Rane's health condition was serious considering he was 69 years old and suffered from sugar and blood pressure issues.
He argued that the offences under IPC for which Rane was arrested were all punishable with less than 7 years and hence his custody was unnecessary.
Shirolkar also argued that Rane's arrest was illegal as no summons was issued to him under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure before his arrest.
It was also contended that the offence of Section 500 would not lie as it was a non-cognizable offence and it was not lodged by the alleged victim himself.
After hearing the lawyers briefly, Magistrate granted bail to Rane and directed him to furnish a bail bond of ₹15,000 with surety of like amount.
On Tuesday, an anticipatory bail application by Rane was rejected by a Sessions Court in Ratnagiri district.
Rane has also approached the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the multiple FIRs against him.
The High Court, however, refused to grant a urgent hearing in that plea and directed Rane's lawyer to follow the procedure for urgent mentioning and then approach the Bench for urgent hearing.
The Court is likely to hear the petition on Wednesday.