In a relief for television actor Ali Asgar Ali Mohammed Agha, the Bombay high court on Friday restrained Maharashtra and Haryana police from arresting the comedian in connection with an offence registered with the Civil Lines police station in Haryana’s Kaithal district for allegedly showing self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in bad light on a television show and hurting the religious sentiments of the followers of his Dera Sacha Sauda.
Justice Ajay Gadkari granted reprieve to Asgar (49) for a week, as his counsel, advocate Shyam Keswani, stated that the television actor would approach appropriate court in Haryana promptly and seek regular anticipatory bail. The court restrained Maharashtra and Haryana police from arresting Asgar for a week or till he approaches the appropriate court in Haryana, whichever is earlier. The judge also directed the police to release him on solvent surety of Rs 25,000 if he was arrested during this period.
The Civil Lines police station has on January 1 registered an offence under Section 295-A (act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against eight actors from the show aired on December 27 on a private channel. The first information report (FIR) has been registered on the complaint of Kaithal resident Dalsher Singh.
The eight actors booked include Kiku Sharda, who was arrested on January 13 and later released on bail. Gaurav Gera, Ali Asgar, Rajeev Thakur, Pooja Banerjee, Mouni Roy, Gautam Gulati and Sana Khan are the others.
Apprehending a similar fate in the wake of Kiku’s arrest, Asgar approached the Bombay high court on Thursday, contending that the show was completely fictitious and the actors had no intention to hurt the religious or personal feelings of anyone; that no specific role had been attributed to him in the police complaint; and that he was willing to cooperate with the investigating agency.
His lawyer, Keswani, assured the court that Asgar would fly to Haryana on Saturday itself and approach the appropriate court there for regular anticipatory bail.