Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale, who was convicted for allegedly posting derogatory comments against NCP leader Sharad Pawar, was taken into custody by a Thane court on Wednesday. Later, his lawyer, Ghanshyam Upadhyay, filed a bail plea, saying the actors’ arrest was political.
Ketaki Chitale was taken into custody since last week. His bail application stated that the Thane Crime Branch had made serious errors in arresting Chitale based on his statements by applying Sections 505(2) (Statements creating or encouraging enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The bail plea further stated that the plaintiff in the case had no locus standi to file an FIR, as Chitale’s social media posts were about a “Pawar” and not the plaintiff. No one named “Pawar” had filed charges, the plea said.
Ghanshyam Upadhyay said At the most a defamation case could have been filed but this kind of arrest was only political.”
He pointed out that “the police did not have the power to arrest Chitale without complying with the issuance of a notice under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Chitale should not have been arrested in under section 500 (libel) of the IPC, which is an unacknowledged offence, sets out the bail plea.
Police have been enthusiastically registering FIRs based on complaints about a social media post and are likely to seek custody in every FIR, raising serious concerns that there is an ‘invisible hand targeting Chitale’ , pointed to the actress’ bail plea. adding, “There is a concerted effort to strike fear into the minds of the people of Maharashtra in general and the applicant in particular in order to dissuade everyone from holding opinions which would offend some ‘Pawar’.”
The 29-year-old actor had posted on his Facebook profile a Marathi poem attributed to another person. The poem mentions the surname (Pawar), age (80) and physical ailments from which the leader of the NCP also suffers. After the FIR registration, Chitale was detained by police on May 14 before being declared arrested. She was presented before a court of first instance which remanded the actor in custody until Wednesday, May 18.
A court on Wednesday further remanded Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale until June 1 in connection with the case.
The Thane Court has asked investigators to file a response to the bail application and she will be heard by the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Thane on May 20.
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