Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, sent to jail Wednesday for a hate speech, is facing serious charges ranging from sedition to waging war against the state.
Police in Nirmal town, which booked the legislator on January 3 under two sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), added five more charges before producing him at a magistrate's house early on Wednesday.
Police had initially booked the legislator for promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to harmony as well as waging or attempting to wage war against the state.
The latter charge carries death sentence or life imprisonment.
Akbar, a member of Andhra Pradesh assembly, now faces five other charges: criminal conspiracy, sedition, threatening people to give false evidence, doing public mischief and disobeying official orders.
After questioning the legislator through the night, police produced him early on Wednesday before a magistrate in Nirmal town in Adilabad district, about 200 km from Hyderabad.
The MIM leader was then shifted to the district jail in Adilabad town.
Akbar's lawyer moved a petition seeking his transfer to Chanchalguda Jail in Hyderabad on health grounds.
Akbar was arrested in Hyderabad Tuesday evening after subjecting him to medical tests through the day at the government-run Gandhi Hospital.
He was brought to Nirmal town amid tight security at 10 p.m.
Police officers continued questioning him till 5 a.m. and later produced him before the magistrate.
Akbar was booked by police in Nirmal in connection with a venomous speech delivered by him in the town Dec 22 at a public meeting.
After the questioning Tuesday night, police added charges under five more sections of Indian Penal Code.
He is facing similar charges in Nizamabad town. Police in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and other districts also booked cases against him on complaints by activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its frontal organisations.
MIM shutdown hits Adilabad, Nizamabad
A shutdown is being observed in parts of Adialabad and Nizamabad districts in Andhra Pradesh Wednesday on a call given by the MIM against the arrest ofOwaisi.
Shops and businesses in some towns including Adilabad and Nirmal were shut, witnesses and officials said.
Police have tightened security in both districts in the north Telangana region bordering Maharashtra. Prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people were imposed in all the towns in the two districts.
A police officer said additional police forces were deployed to maintain law and order. As a precaution, police arrested some leaders of MIM.
Akbar was booked in both Nirmal and Nizamabad for allegedly delivering venomous speeches during public meetings in the two towns.
MIM has not called for a shutdown in Hyderabad, its stronghold, but authorities are not taking any chances. Security was beefed up in all the sensitive areas, especially in the Old City.
The communally sensitive Old City has been tense since Tuesday evening. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed around the historic Charminar and interior areas which witnessed communal clashes in November.
MIM chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi has urged people to remain peaceful. He described the arrest of his younger brother as a conspiracy by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Asad Owaisi said he had full faith in the judiciary. In a statement carried by Urdu daily 'Etemaad' which is published by MIM, he hoped that justice would be done in Akbar's case.