Varun Gandhi, BJP's latest Hindutva posterboy and its candidate from Pilibhit, plunged into deeper trouble on Sunday night with the Uttar Pradesh government deciding to book him under the National Security Act(NSA) for inciting communal tensions which may result in him being under detention for upto one year.
In a possible unprecedented action of NSA being slapped for a hate speech, Gandhi, who is in the eye of a storm for his alleged anti-Muslim utterances, the Mayawati government said there were three grounds which were taken into consideration by the state government for the decision.
"An order issued hy Pilibhit district magistrate Ajay Chauhan invoking NSA on the BJP nominee this evening has been served to Gandhi, who is currently lodged in the district jail," Additional Cabinet Secretary Vijay Shanker Pandey told reporters in Lucknow.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer K T S Tulsi said " it seems he will have to stay in jail may be even for a year or more because the government is clearly worried about the implications that it could have in the rest of the country.
Pilbhit district authorities served the NSA notice on Gandhi on Sunday night at the district jail after the NSA decision was taken by the BSP government.
Tulsi was of the view that Gandhi's bail plea on Monday may be "useless" following Sunday night action.
The NSA was also invoked on the grounds of public administration and peace being disturbed by Gandhi, Pandey said.
Pandey said the order had been issued under section 3 (2) of the National Security Act 1980.
Under the provisions of the NSA, a person cannot get bail atleast for six months and if this happens Varun has to remain in jail till elections are over.
Giving details on the basis of which NSA was slapped on Gandhi, Pandey said, "Charges of inciting communal passion by making provocative and inflammatory speeches during meetings held on March 7 at Dalganj and on March 8 at Barkhera area of Pilibhit district have been confirmed."
The NSA action came on a day when Gandhi was slapped with fresh charges by the Pilibhit police including attempt to murder, a non-bailable offence, in connection with yesterday' violence involving his supporters around the Pilibhit district jail following his arrest. Today's charges came on top of earlier charges of "inciting religious hatred" in his alleged anti-Muslim speeches.
The maximum period of detention under the NSA is one year with no provision for bail. The government invokes the NSA on the basis of the District Magistrate's report after which the accused is kept in preventive detention.
During the three-week period, the accused is provided with the grounds for invoking the NSA and he can challenge the detention before a three-member Advisory Board headed by a High Court judge.
If the Board hold that the grounds for detention are justified, then the applicant can only challenge it in Supreme Court.
Pandey said that on March 18 deviating from the programme sent to the Superintendent of Police Varun Gandhi changed his route and timing in a planned manner, thus affecting general administration adversely.
"Besides, he also gave provocative statement outside the court(yesterday) which affected the general administration," said Pandey, who was flanked by Director General of Police Vikram Singh and Additional Director General (Law and Order) Brij Lal.
The additional cabinet secretary said that on March 18, while Varun was being taken to the jail after being remanded into judicial custody, his supporters indulged in vandalism and clashed with police.
"This act of Varun's supporters resulted in fear and terror in the adjoining areas and stampede, which made an adverse impact on the general administration," he said.
Pandey said UP government was committed to ensure free and fair and peaceful conduct of the Lok Sabha elections.
"Any person will not be allowed to disturb the peaceful conduct of the polls and stern action will be taken against those attempting to do so," Pandey said.
The additional cabinet secretary said that the government had issued an order to ensure strict enforcement of the model code of conduct.
"Stern action would be taken against those violating model code of conduct," he said.
Earlier, Varun's mother Maneka Gandhi visited the district jail where the BJP nominee from Pilibhit has been lodged and alleged that the registration of cases were part of a "political conspiracy". Coming to the defence of her son who was arrested after he surrendered amid high drama, Maneka said the cases were "frivolous".
Besides being booked under Section 307 IPC (attempt to murder), the 29-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family was also hit with charges under sections 147, 148 and 149 (rioting and related offences), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 336 (doing any act that endangers human life or the personal safety of others).
Varun also faced charges under certain sections of IPC relating to public safety and certain state acts after his supporters clashed with the police, officials said. PTI
Varun, along with Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Kalraj Mishra, local MLA Sukhlal and former party MLA B K Gupta, have also been named in another FIR registered for violation of prohibitory orders on Saturday.