NEW DELHI(PTI):The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant pre-arrest bail to former Congress MP Nilesh Rane, son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, in a case of alleged assault and kidnapping filed by a party worker from Chiplun in Ratnagiri district.
Justice Ajay Gadkari asked him to surrender before police on or before May 23 while allowing Rane to withdraw his anticipatory bail petition.
“I am of the view that this is not a fit case to grant anticipatory bail,” the Judge ruled after perusing a police reply opposing Rane’s plea for liberty and also while going through the FIR lodged against him.
The police said in a written reply that there were serious allegations against Rane and his custodial interrogation was needed as investigations were still on.
When the court said it was not inclined to grant Rane pre-arrest bail and was about to dismiss his petition, his lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar sought to withdraw the plea with a rider that Rane would surrender to police. The court allowed him to withdraw the petition and asked him to surrender within a week.
The judge gave his ruling after hearing public prosecutor Arfan Sait and Rane’s counsel Shirodkar on granting pre-arrest bail to Rane.
A case was earlier registered by Thane police against Rane, his personal assistant Tushar Panchal and bodyguard Manish Singh under IPC sections for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting Congress president of Chiplun taluka, Sandeep Sawant, in April. A sessions court had earlier rejected Rane’s plea for pre-arrest bail. Aggrieved, Rane moved the high court with a plea for anticipatory bail.
According to the FIR, Nilesh Rane and his accomplices had allegedly kidnapped Sawant and assaulted him on way to Mumbai for not attending a rally called by Rane at Chiplun in Ratnagiri district to demand reservation for the Maratha community.
Sawant was allegedly confined to a house at Andheri in Mumbai and later let-off, the complaint alleged. Sawant had told Rane that he could not attend the rally because his mother had taken ill in a nearby village and he had to rush there to be with her.
On the basis of the complaint filed by Sawant, the Thane police had registered a case against Rane and his accomplices. Soon after the incident, Sawant was hospitalised and Narayan Rane had visited him to pacify and urge him to withdraw the complaint against Nilesh Rane but Sawant declared his resolve to fight the case.
Rane’s lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar argued that the charges levelled against the Congress leader were not very serious and attracted punishment upto seven years, if proved against him. He also denied the charges of kidnapping and assault saying the allegations against Rane were baseless.
The allegation that the accused was assaulted with hockey sticks was also not true because no injury marks were found on his person when he was hospitalised, Shirodkar said.
Public prosecutor Arfan Sait opposed Rane’s plea saying the allegations of kidnapping and assault were serious and his custodial interrogation was required by police. Besides, the probe was still going on, he said.
Rane’s lawyer, on the other hand, argued that custodial interrogation was not needed as there was nothing to recover from him and the probe was almost over. He said Rane was willing to cooperate with police if he was granted pre-arrest bail.