INDIA. Mumbai: In a complaint brought against her in Navi Mumbai’s Kalamboli police station in 2020 under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Marathi TV actress Ketaki Chitale was granted bail on Thursday.
In response to a complaint brought by Swapnil Jagtap, a member of the Ambedkar Yuva Sangh, Additional Sessions Judge (Thane) A S Bhagwat granted Chitale bail with the requirement that he provide a guarantee of Rs 25,000.
Jagtap referred to her FB post criticizing Dalits for coming to Mumbai “in hordes” on December 06 on the occasion of Dr. B R Ambedkar’s death anniversary every year.
As per bail condition, she is required to be present before Rabale police every Saturday and Sunday but since she is also arrested in another case, she continues to be in judicial custody.
She has been granted in a case registered at Rabale police under atrocities act. Whereas her bail application in a case filed at Kalwa police station (Thane) for alleged derogatory remarks against NCP leader Sharad Pawar, is scheduled for hearing on June 21 in Thane court, her advocate Vasant Bansode said.
In another development, Chitale’s petition challenging her arrest by Kalwa police as illegal and demanding the quashing of 22 FIRs and three non-cognizable offences registered against her across Maharashtra, is likely to be heard by the Bombay High Court on Friday.
Chitale (29) in her latest plea filed through advocates Ghanshyam Upadhyay and Yogesh Deshpande, said that the day after the FIR was registered, she was called by officials of the Kalamboli Police station (Navi Mumbai), asking her to appear, which she complied with.
She was also asked to sign certain papers at the Kalamboli police station, on the pretext that it was a formality. She did not understand the nitty-gritties of law and when she was asked to sign papers, she complied.
However even before the matter was settled, the officials of the Kalwa Police station (in Thane), reached the Kalamboli police station intending to arrest her even before they had interacted with her. Eventually, they took her into custody.
Besides, the police remand given by the magistrate court in the case was in breach of Supreme Court guidelines. The police should have given her notice under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which mandates that the investigating officer would have to issue a notice of appearance before an arrest is made.
She claimed that the enthusiasm shown by the police in registering the FIRs proved that she was being targeted with an object of striking fear in the minds of people. The FIR was an “abuse of process of law” and as such should be quashed and set aside.
The Bombay High Court is urged in the plea to rule that the woman’s arrest was “illegal and in violation of her fundamental rights.” She will also receive compensation for her “illegal” arrest.
Chitale (29) was arrested on 14 May over the post she allegedly shared on her Facebook page, which was in verse form and purportedly written by someone else.
She was in police custody till May 24 and was then sent to judicial custody till June 7, which was again extended till June 21.
She has been booked by the Thane crime branch police under sections 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving defamatory matter), and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.
In the meanwhile, the Central Women’s Commission has asked Maharashtra Director General of Police Rajneesh Seth to file a report about the circumstances leading to Chitale’s “illegal” arrest by the Kalwa police and also appear for a hearing before the Commission on Friday.
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