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  4. Hanuman Chalisa row: Rana couple to stay in jail as Mumbai court defers hearing on bail pleas till tomorrow

Hanuman Chalisa row: Rana couple to stay in jail as Mumbai court defers hearing on bail pleas till tomorrow

Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana were arrested on April 23 following their public declaration of reciting the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra.

Rajesh Singh Reported by: Rajesh Singh Mumbai Updated on: April 29, 2022 16:07 IST
rana couple
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

Independent MP Navneet Kaur Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana at Parliament

Highlights

  • The hearing was deferred after the Rana couple's lawyer Ponda sought time till tomorrow
  • While Navneet is lodged in Byculla women's prison, Ravi is in Taloja jail
  • Navneet & Ravi have separately filed applications before a court seeking home food in jail

 

Hanuman Chalisa row: Arrested MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband will stay in jail as a Mumbai Sessions court on Thursday deferred the hearing on their bail pleas till tomorrow. The hearing was deferred after the Rana couple's lawyer Ponda sought time till tomorrow.

Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, however, opposed the date saying that he cannot come to the court tomorrow due to another case in the Alibag town of Raigad district.

Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana were arrested on April 23 following their public declaration of reciting the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra. The Ranas eventually dropped their plan but were arrested under various sections of the IPC including those related to sedition and promoting enmity between different groups. 

A Bandra magistrate court had remanded them to 14-day judicial custody on Sunday. While Navneet is lodged in Byculla women's prison, Ravi, who is MLA from Badnera in Amravati district, is in Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

In the first FIR, Ranas were booked under Sections 34, 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the IPC and Sections 37(1) and 135 of the Bombay Police Act. Section 124A (sedition) was added later.

Hanuman Chalisa episode 'big plot' of Ranas

During today's hearing, the Mumbai Police told the court that Navneet and Ravi's call to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside the CM's residence here may look innocent, but it was in fact a "big plot" to challenge the MVA government. The police also claimed that the opposition BJP and the political opponents of Thackeray were trying to create an atmosphere to project him as anti-Hindu and not sponsoring the cause of Hinduism, and that in the present regime it was difficult for Hindus to practise their religion freely and thus the feeling of hate would increase against the Muslim religion causing a rift. 

The police made these claims in an affidavit filed through Pradip Gharat opposing the bail pleas of the Rana couple.

The police said if released on bail the accused, who are influential persons, would tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses. The police further said that since the accused are not permanent residents of Mumbai, if granted bail they may not be available for the probe and trial.

'BJP opposing govt policies'

The police in their affidavit claimed that the BJP, which is the opposition party in Maharashtra, has been strongly opposing the administrative policies of the present government and criticising the ruling Shiv Sena for its stand on Hindutva. They claimed that the BJP was doing so as it was deprived of power after the Shiv Sena formed an alliance with the NCP and the Congress to form a government.

"The opposite parties and political opponents of Shiv Sena have clashes on the point of religion. Some political parties and independent political leaders are raising issues and alleging that the chief minister of Maharashtra is against Hindutva and also alleging that the government is sponsoring the cause of other religions," the police said.

The police in their affidavit also rubbished the claims of the Ranas that they only wanted to chant Hanuman Chalisa, which is an act of prayer, and hence it cannot be construed as an offence. "However innocent these pleadings may seem like, the respondent (police) says that these submissions are the most hypocrite as the plan to read Hanuman Chalisa at 'Matoshree', the private residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is a big plot to create a challenge to the law and order situation," the affidavit said.

READ MORE: Shiv Sena claims arrested MP Navneet Rana has underworld links

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