HC denies pre-arrest bail to BJP MLA Nitesh Rane in murder attempt case
Mumbai, Jan 17 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant pre-arrest bail to BJP MLA Nitesh Rane in an attempt to murder case registered against him by the police in Maharashtra's Sindhudurg district, noting a balance is needed between conflicting considerations of personal liberty and a proper investigation in the matter.
The court, in its order, noted that conducting proper investigation was paramount and that custodial interrogation was required.
A single-judge bench of Justice C V Bhadang rejected the anticipatory bail applications filed by Nitesh Rane, son of Union minister Narayan Rane, and another accused Sandesh Sawant, but allowed a similar plea of a third accused in the case, Manish Dalvi. The case relates to alleged attack on a Shiv Sena activist in the coastal district.
Nitesh Rane's advocate Niteen Pradhan then sought the high court to extend the police's earlier assurance that no coercive action shall be taken against the MLA for one more week.
The bench then asked special public prosecutor Sudeep Pasbola if the police are willing to extend such assurance. To which, Pasbola responded by saying the police will not take any coercive action against Nitesh Rane for a week.
"We accept the police's statement that it won't take any coercive action against the applicant (Nitesh Rane) till January 27 by the way of last chance," the high court said.
Justice Bhadang, in his order, noted that in cases like the present one, the court is required to balance the conflicting considerations of personal liberty and need for a proper investigation in a larger societal interest.
"At this stage, in my considered view, proper investigation is the paramount consideration. Thus, I do not find that the applicants (Nitesh and Sawant) are entitled to pre-arrest bail," the court said.
Nitesh Rane, Sawant and Dalvi had sought anticipatory bail in the case registered against them by the Sindhurdurg police in December 2021 under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
While the Kankavli MLA had claimed he was implicated in a false case due to political reasons, the police asserted that Nitesh Rane was the "mastermind" of the attack on a Shiv Sena activist and the prime accused.
Justice Bhadang, while granting anticipatory bail to Dalvi on a bond of Rs 50,000, directed him to appear before the Sindhudurg police for questioning on January 20, 21 and 22 between 11am to 1pm, and thereafter as and when summoned by the police.
The court said Dalvi shall not leave Sindhudurg without first intimating the investigating officer and not tamper with evidence in the case or cause hindrance to the probe.
The case pertains to alleged attack on Shiv Sena activist Santosh Parab during the campaigning for the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections.
According to the MLA, he was being targeted by Maharashtra's ruling party (Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA government) as it felt insulted and hurt by an alleged incident of mocking outside the state legislature complex last month.
A Shiv Sena MLA had last month alleged that Nitesh Rane had made 'meow meow' sounds looking in the direction of Maharashtra minister and Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray while he was going inside the Vidhan Bhavan building in Mumbai on December 23 during the winter session of the legislature.
The Kankavli police had opposed Nitesh Rane's application stating that it was fallacious to say that he was being targeted due to political reasons or because of a 'dharna' he had held outside the Vidhan Bhavan on December 23, 2021.
Apart from Nitesh Rane, Dalvi and Sawant, six more persons have been named accused in the case and arrested.
The Rane family was associated with the Shiv Sena for long before falling out with the party.