Supreme Court extends Pawan Khera's interim protection over remarks against PM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Supreme Court extends Pawan Khera's interim protection over remarks against PM

Feb 27, 2023 02:54 PM IST

Pawan Khera IndiGo flight: Congress spokesperson was removed from Raipur flight and held by Delhi Police to be arrested by cops from Assam over alleged derogatory remarks against PM Modi.

The Supreme Court on Monday extended interim protection from arrest for Congress leader Pawan Khera, who was taken into custody last week by Assam Police amid controversy at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Congress leader Pawan Khera was taken away by police from the tarmac of Delhi airport after he was de-boarded from a Raipur-bound IndiGo flight on Thursday. (PTI)
Congress leader Pawan Khera was taken away by police from the tarmac of Delhi airport after he was de-boarded from a Raipur-bound IndiGo flight on Thursday. (PTI)

The court extended protection after the Assam and Uttar Pradesh governments sought extra time to file affidavits in response to Khera asking that FIRs filed against him - one from Assam and two from UP - over allegedly derogatory remarks against prime minister Narendra Modi. The court also said Khera would be protected till its next hearing, which is likely on Friday.

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Khera was arrested Thursday after he was forced to de-board an IndiGo flight to Raipur, where the Congress was holding a plenary session. He was detained by Delhi Police till their colleagues from the north-eastern state arrived.

Within hours the top court was approached and chief justice DY Chandrachud granted Khera interim bail and protection from arrest till Tuesday. The chief justice also said there had to be 'some level of discourse'.

READ | CJI Chandrachud to Khera: 'Have protected you but there has to be…'

Why was Khera arrested?

READ | Khera's arrest, release on interim bail: What happened at Delhi airport?

On February 17, while addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Khera referred to the prime minister as 'Narendra Gautamdas Modi'. He appeared to correct himself after conferring with a colleague.

The press conference was to flag the Congress' demands for a parliamentary inquiry into allegations about the Adani Group by United States-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.

READ | Mahua Moitra's jab on Adani's plan to raise $400m from Aus assets

The remark led to an outcry from BJP leaders who claimed an insult to Modi. Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma slammed Khera as a 'courtier' and said the remarks showed a Congress 'full of entitlement and disdain…'

What happened on IndiGo flight 6E-204?

Shortly before the plane was to depart, carrying Khera and several of his colleagues, including Supriya Shrinate and Surjewala, to the Congress' meeting in Raipur, Khera was asked to de-board. He was told of a 'problem' with the airline tag on his luggage. Khera later said he had no check-in bags.

READ | 'Your bag has a wrong tag': How Khera was arrested

After he exited the plane - to furious protests by other Congress leaders, who staged a dharna on the tarmac of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport - Khera was told he could not leave because a DCP-rank police officer (deputy commissioner of police) was en route to arrest him.

As Khera was finally led away by Assam Police protests on the tarmac increased, and opposition lawmakers from other parties, including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and former Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy spoke out in support of the Congress leader.

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