The Maharashtra government Friday extended its interim statement till September 30 that no coercive action will be taken against Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane, who 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 him to file separate petitions instead of one. The FIRs have been registered at Mahad, Thane, Pune, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and other places.
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 and added that the bench will tag all petitions together for hearing.
Rane’s counsels agreed and said that they will file separate petitions and, in the meantime, Mundargi sought an interim protection in all FIRs registered against the union minister in connection with his August 23-remark.
He said that while the government had earlier stated that it would not take any coercive action against Rane in the FIR registered in Nashik, similar protection will be granted in other cases as well. 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, 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 statement in Raigad that he would have slapped the Maharashtra CM for “not knowing how many years India has been independent”.
Rane’s plea in the HC stated that the Nashik Police Commissioner was working under pressure from the Shiv Sena, the ruling party in the state, and that multiple FIRs were lodged against him with the only intention to “harass him by launching a false prosecution.” HC will hear Rane’s pleas next on September 30.