Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel was on Tuesday granted bail by a court in Surat in connection with a case of blocking a national high that passes through the city. However, the 22-year-old, who is facing seven more cases including two of sedition, will remain in judicial custody at Surat’s Rajpore Central Jail.
Hardik and many other members of his outfit – Patidar Anamat Anadolan Samiti (PAAS) – were arrested on October 18 after they tried to block a national highway near Kamrej during a protest. Later, the firebrand leader was also booked for sedition.
This is the first case in which Hardik has been granted bail. This has come at a time when the state government is likely to withdraw 41 FIRs filed against agitating Patidars. The cases pertain to damaging public property, attacking police stations and BJP offices in North Gujarat.
The Gujarat government has already withdrawn 74 cases. Total 454 cases were filed in connection with rioting reported from across the state following the PAAS’s Ahmedabad rally on August 25.
Earlier on Tuesday, Hardik hit out at his former lawyer BM Mangukiya, who is also president of Congress Legal Cell. Mangukiya had represented Hardik in all the cases against him since October. In December, Hardik asked him not to appear for him in any of the cases.
“Mangukiya dragged me into false cases,” Hardik told reporters before hearing of his bail plea.
Hardik was apparently referring to the habeas corpus filed by Mangukiya in September 2015. Taking the matter on priority basis, the court had held the first hearing at 2.30am. Hardik, who resurfaced some 12 hours after the hearing, had later failed to prove that he was, as alleged by him in the complaint, kidnapped by Gujarat Police from a public meeting in Tenpur.