HC relief for Raj Thackeray in 2008 Sangli protest case
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday quashed an order passed by a sessions court at Islampur in Sangli district refusing discharge to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray in a 2008 case arising out of a protest initiated by his party
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday quashed an order passed by a sessions court at Islampur in Sangli district refusing discharge to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray in a 2008 case arising out of a protest initiated by his party.
Single-judge justice Amit Borkar directed the sessions court to hear the discharge application afresh. The incident took place in 2008 across districts in Maharashtra when MNS workers had staged a state-wide agitation demanding preference for Maharashtrian youth in railway jobs.
Thackeray was arrested in complaints filed over this agitation. His party workers carried out further agitation protesting their chief’s arrest.
In one such FIR registered at Sangli in 2008 alleging unlawful assembly and breach of peace, Thackeray filed a discharge application in 2013 at the stage of framing of charges.
The application was filed before a magistrate who rejected the application and summoned Thackeray to appear for framing of charges. When Thackeray failed to appear, the magistrate issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
Thackeray challenged the rejection of the discharge plea before the sessions court in Islampur. The session judge also rejected the same, leading to the present plea before the HC. Thackeray claimed that he was not present at the spot but in fact was in police custody when the incident at Islampur allegedly occurred, and hence he could not be booked for the incident.
Senior advocate Rajendra Shirodkar, appearing for Thackeray, pointed out that the sessions judge’s order lacked proper reasoning and did not refer to the material submitted to it in the chargesheet.
The additional public prosecutor opposed the plea pointing out that discharge could be decided after all witnesses had deposed.
The court after considering the arguments of both sides, quashed and set aside the session’s court order and directed that the discharge plea be decided afresh.
The court also asked the sessions court to consider the non-bailable warrant if and when Thackeray seeks a stay on the same.