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HomemaharashtraCourt junks discharge plea of MP Rana, her husband in case linked...

Court junks discharge plea of MP Rana, her husband in case linked to Hanuman Chalisa row

Mumbai: A special court here on Tuesday rejected the discharge application filed by Independent Lok Sabha MP Navneet Rana and her MLA-husband Ravi Rana in a 2022 case of resisting arrest and obstructing cops from performing their duty linked to a row over recitation of Hanuman Chalisa, observing prima facie there was enough evidence against them.

The lawmaker couple has been booked under IPC section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) for allegedly resisting and obstructing police personnel, who visited their residence in suburban Khar for arresting them after they announced a plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside the private residence of then-Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Bandra.

Special judge of court for MP-MLA cases, R N Rokade, rejected the duo’s plea seeking discharge in the case, saying prima facie there was enough evidence against the applicants based on the statements of witnesses.

Thus, crime under section 353 of the IPC is made out, noted the judge.

Discharge is a stage that comes after a charge sheet has been filed in a case, but before charges are framed by the court concerned against an accused. Under this legal remedy, an accused is entitled to be discharged from a case if evidence provided to the court is not sufficient to prove the offence.

In the discharge plea filed through advocate Rizwan Merchant, the politicians, currently out on bail, claimed the Mumbai police’s charge sheet against them has been ‘doctored and engineered’ merely to malign and harm their reputation so that they can succumb to pressure tactics and political agendas.

The police had arrested the Ranas in April 2022 following their announcement to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Thackeray’s private residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra, a move which angered workers of the undivided Shiv Sena and led to tension in the area.

The couple had later dropped the plan, citing a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mumbai.

(Published 19 December 2023, 15:44 IST)

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