Hanuman Chalisa Row : Mumbai Sessions Court Grants Conditional Bail To Navneet Rana, Ravi Rana

Picture : Twitter / ANI

Mumbai sessions court has granted conditional bail to Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA-husband Ravi Rana, who were arrested following a row over the recitation of Hanuman Chalisa.

The conditions of bail include that the couple shall not hamper investigation or influence witnesses, they should not commit a similar criminal offence that entails cancellation of bail and should furnish a surety of Rs 50,000 each. Apart from this, they are also restrained from speaking to the media.

The couple was arrested on April 23 by the Mumbai police following their public declaration of reciting the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence ‘Matoshree’ in Bandra area here.

They were booked under various provisions of the IPC, including charges of sedition and promoting enmity.

On Wednesday, special judge R N Rokade allowed their bail plea.

The couple had in their bail plea, filed through advocates Rizwan Merchant and Abad Ponda, claimed that the call to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside ‘Matoshree’, the CM’s private residence, cannot be said to be an act to promote feelings of enmity or hatred and the charge under IPC section 153(A) cannot be sustained.

They also submitted that by no stretch of imagination, can the acts of the applicants be stated to constitute the offence of sedition.

The police, represented by special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, had opposed the bail plea, saying while on the face of it the couple’s plan looked innocent, but it was, in fact, a big plot to challenge the ruling government.

The police claimed that the opposition BJP in the state and political opponents of Thackeray were trying to create an atmosphere to show that the chief minister was against Hindus and not sponsoring the cause of Hinduism.

Rizwan Merchant, advocate of Navneet-Ravi Rana told ANI, Court has granted bail to Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana. Some conditions have been imposed. They’ve been asked to cooperate in the investigation and interrogation. Police have also been directed to issue an advance notice of 24 hours to them. Another condition is that no hampering or tampering to be done with evidence. They are not allowed to give any sort of interview to the media. Hopefully, they will be released by today’s evening.

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