Hanuman Chalisa row: Rana couple to remain behind bars, next hearing on May 4
Maharashtra MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana had dropped their plan to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's family residence ‘Matoshree’, but they were still booked by Mumbai Police on charges of sedition and creating enmity between groups, among others.
Maharashtra's independent MP-MLA couple Navneet and Ravi Rana will continue to remain behind the bars till May 4 after a Mumbai sessions court on Monday reserved its order till that day.
The bench said it requires some more time to finish dictating the order. The Rana couple has been in jail since April 23 when they were arrested following their call to chant the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Shiv Sena supremo and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's family residence ‘Matoshree’.
The lawmaker couple had dropped their plans to chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree, but was later booked by the Mumbai Police under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sedition and charges of creating enmity between groups.
The sessions court had last heard the Rana couple's case on April 30 when advocate Abad Ponda, who appeared for the petitioner, said that giving a call to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside a mosque would have been questionable, but the same in front of Matoshree “doesn't fan any communal tension”. He also said that the sole “intent to commit a crime” cannot be punished.
Besides Ponda, lawyer Rizwan Merchant is representing the Rana couple. SPP Pradeep Gharat is appearing for Mumbai's Khar Police station.
Meanwhile, one of the lawyers of the Rana couple wrote to the superintendent of Mumbai's Byculla Jail on Monday, alleging that Navneet has spondylosis that is increasing by continuously sitting and lying on the floor in the jail. He said the Amravati MP needs to undergo a CT scan so that doctors can assess the seriousness of her condition, claiming that the jail authorities denied permission for the same.
The lawyer also warned that if the MP's condition deteriorates owing to lack of timely diagnosis, then the jail authorities will be responsible for the same.
This comes after last week, Navneet wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla alleging inhuman treatment in jail. Later, Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey tweeted a 12-second video clip of the Rana couple that showed them having tea at Khar Police station, to rebut the accusations.
(With inputs from bureau and ANI)