Hanuman Chalisa row: Ranas move Bombay HC to cancel FIRs
Maharashtra independent MLA Ravi Rana and his wife, Amravati MP Navneet Rana, petitioned the Bombay High Court on Monday for the cancellation of FIRs against them. The couple was arrested on Saturday for planning a Hanuman Chalisa recital outside the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Later, on Sunday, a court in Mumbai remanded the duo in 14-day judicial custody. Here's more.
- The Ranas were caught in the middle of the row after an alleged confrontation with CM Thackeray.
- MLA Rana reportedly demanded the CM to chant Hanuman Chalisa on Hanuman Jayanti but he refused to do so.
- This is the latest controversy brewing in Maharashtra after MNS chief Raj Thackeray earlier demanded loudspeakers be removed from mosques and threatened to play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques.
The MP-MLA couple was reportedly charged with violating IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 34 (common intention), along with Sections 37(1) and 135 of the Bombay Police Act. The Mumbai Police later added sedition charges to the legislator couple's case, Hindustan Times reported. While MP Navneet was sent to the Byculla prison, her husband was shifted to the Taloja jail.
According to the police, a second FIR against the Ranas was also registered. This was filed for allegedly stopping the police from carrying out their duties and resisting arrest at their residence in Khar as the couple reportedly planned to move toward the CM's house.
The trouble for the couple began when they decided to perform the Hanuman Chalisa recital outside "Matoshree"—the private residence of Thackeray—on Saturday. First, Thackeray-led Shiv Sena's workers protested outside the couple's house in Mumbai's Khar neighborhood. Subsequently, the Ranas announced they had canceled their plans for the recital owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mumbai visit. However, on Saturday evening, the couple was arrested.
On Sunday, the Ranas were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by the holiday bench of Mumbai's Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate Court. The couple's lawyer, Rizwan Merchant, reportedly submitted a bail application after they were sent to judicial custody. The police have been asked to respond to Ranas' bail petition by April 27. And, their bail plea will be heard on April 29
Calling the MLA-MP couple's arrest "illegal," Merchant earlier said, "Both of them were locked inside their house, honoring Section 149 notice. So, the arrest is absolutely illegal." To recall, the police last week issued the Ranas a notice under CrPC Section 149, requesting them not to disrupt the law and order situation. Section 149 allows authorities to take measures to avoid a cognizable offense.