INDIA. Mumbai: Union Minister Narayan Rane who was arrested, for his objectionable remarks against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, was released on bail by the Mahad Sessions court, in Raigad district late Tuesday night.
Rane was arrested for his controversial remark against Thackeray. During a speech on Monday evening at a hall in Mahad city in Raigad, Rane had said, “It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap.”
Rane on his “Jan Ashirvad Yatra”, a tour to explain welfare measures undertaken by the Narendra Modi Government, had also criticized Thackeray saying that the chief minister was delaying reopening of temples under the excuse of the anticipated third wave of COVID-19 in the state.
Rane was arrested from Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri on Tuesday afternoon and was brought to MIDC police in Mahad. He was later produced in the Mahad Sessions court. After a late-night hearing, the Mahad Sessions Judge released him on a personal bond of Rs 15,000/- and conditions that he will present himself before Raigad police on August 30 and September 13. He will not tamper with evidence and will not pressurize the witnesses. Besides, he will ensure that a similar situation does not occur due to his objectionable utterances in the future. If the police want to take his voice samples, they should give him 7 days’ prior notice.
The police had booked Rane under sections 153 and 505 of the Indian Penal code. However, the advocate appearing on his behalf, argued that these sections did not apply to him since he had not caused disturbance to law and order. Besides going by his weak health, he should not be detained and should be released. Whereas the Government pleader maintained that the irresponsible utterances were not expected of Rane, who was a Union Minister. Besides his utterances were provoking.
The offences have also been registered against Rane also with Nashik and Pune Police. However, the Nashik and Pune police did not insist upon seeking his custody. According to sources he may be called for recording his statement at later date by the Nashik and Pune police, since the FIRs cannot be cancelled.
After Rane was released on bail, BJP leader and the leader of Opposition in Maharashtra legislative council Pravin Darekar told electronic media that Rane may resume his “Jan Ashirvad Yatra” by Thursday/Friday. The police have already imposed a ban on the assembly of five or more people in Sindhudurg district, where Rane is expected to take his “Jan Ashirvad Yatra”. Regardless of the ban, the yatra will continue, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said.
Shiv Sena MLA Bhaskar Jadhav told the “Transcontinental Times”, now that the court has warned Rane not to make irresponsible statements in the future, hopefully, he will not make controversial statements and avoid this type of situation. “It is Bharatiya Janata Party” which has painted a false picture that Rane is “larger than life” and will ensure the victory of BJP in all future elections in the Konkan region. Besides, he will also help BJP to capture power in the elections to the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) slated to be held next year.
Earlier, the leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly (BJP) Devendra Fadnavis had said that Rane’s remark against the CM does not qualify as a cognizable offense under the law. “We don’t support Rane’s remark against the CM. But let me make it clear that the entire BJP is with Rane. At the most, such an uncharacteristic remark could have been countered by the ruling coalition through statements. Where was the need to lodge FIR and issue an arrest order? Will Maharashtra be governed by law? Is this the Taliban?” he asked.
In all 43 union ministers are undertaking the yatras to visit 212 Lok Sabha constituencies in 29 states and 265 districts to seek “blessings” of the people across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that all the ministers in the council of ministers must be engaged with the people and these yatras are being undertaken with the aim that citizens can feel the ministers as their own.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena-BJP workers clashed in different parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, over Rane’s arrest. A huge crowd was gathered outside Rane’s residence at Juhu in northwest Mumbai under the leadership of Shiv Sena Youth leader Varun Sardesai. The police rounded up the workers of both the parties, who were later released.
Rane’s political career
Rane was the chief minister of Maharashtra from February 01, 1999, to October 17, 1999 of the then Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government. He was a member of Shiv Sena and opposition leader of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly until July 2005. Subsequently, he joined the Congress and served in the Congress-NCP governments as a minister till 2014. He quit Congress in September 2017 and launched the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP). In 2018, he declared support to BJP and was elected to the Rajya Sabha on a BJP nomination. He joined BJP on October 15, 2019, and merged his MSP into BJP. He was inducted recently in the Union cabinet as MSME Minister.