Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana, the couple arrested by the Mumbai Police last month in connection with the Hanuman Chalisa row in Maharashtra, have been granted bail. While Navneet Rana is a Lok Sabha MP from Amravati MP, her husband Ravi Rana is MLA from the Badnera assembly seat in Maharashtra.
They were granted bail by special judge RN Rokade of a special court on a surety of Rs 50,000 and the conditions that they shall not speak to the media on any subjects related to the case and tamper with evidence. The court also directed them not to commit a similar offence while on bail and the breach of the bail order will lead to the cancellation of bail.
The court also asked the Rana couple to cooperate with the investigation and if the inquiry officer calls then, they have to be present. The officer shall give at least 24 hours notice while calling Ranas.
"Court has granted bail to Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana. Some conditions have been imposed. They've been asked to cooperate in the investigation & interrogation. Police have also been directed to issue an advance notice of 24 hours to them," the Rizwan Merchant, advocate of Navneet and Ravi, told reporters outside the court.
"Another condition is that no hamering 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," Merchant added.
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 CM Uddhav Thackeray were trying to create an atmosphere to show that the CM was against Hindus and not sponsoring the cause of Hinduism.
Navneet and Ravi were arrested by the Mumbai Police on April 23 following their public declaration of reciting the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra. They were sent to 14 days of judicial custody.
Although the couple had eventually dropped their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav's residence, the Mumbai Police had registered an FIR against them under various sections of IPC for promoting enmity. Police later added a sedition charge against them.