Facing a mounting backlash from activists and public at large over the arrest of Aseem Trivedi, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said the state home department would consider dropping the sedition charge against the cartoonist.
"The home department is looking into the issue and might withdraw the charges against Trivedi," Chavan said at the state guesthouse, Sahyadri.
Home minister RR Patil, however, said he had instructed Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh to look into the violations by the cartoonist and see if charge of sedition was valid.
"The commissioner of police will see if there has been any insult to the national emblem. If need be, we will seek the opinion of the law and judiciary department," Patil told the media, claiming that no definite decision on dropping charges had been taken.
"Action will be taken in accordance with the existing laws. There will be no discrimination," he added.
Trivedi was arrested on Saturday by the Mumbai Police, which charged him, among other things, with sedition for insulting the national emblem and Parliament through his cartoon during the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare in December 2011.
On Tuesday, The Bombay high court granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 5,000.
Mayank Gandhi from India Against Corruption (IAC) told HT, "The home minister has assured us that the sedition charges against Trivedi will be dropped. He will be released at 1pm on Wednesday after signing the bond."
When questioned about the protest outside Arthur Road jail announced by IAC member Arvind Kejriwal earlier in the day , Gandhi said, "The dharna will be cancelled as Trivedi will be out of prison."HT Correspondent