A Mumbai court on Sunday sent Independent Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana to a 14-day judicial custody a day after they were arrested for threatening to recite Hanuman Chalisa in front of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home, PTI reported.
“Charges under IPC [Indian Penal Code] Section 124-A [sedition] are made out against them as they had challenged the government machinery and made remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray,” Public Prosecutor Pradip Gharat said on Sunday.
The court rejected the Mumbai Police’s demand for their custody. It will hear the couple’s bail plea on April 29, the prosecutor added.
Navneet Rana will be sent to Byculla women’s jail, while Ravi Rana will be sent to Arthur Road prison till their bail plea is heard.
Ravi Rana told reporters while he was being taken to the jail that the police have filed “false offense[s]” against him and his wife, India Today reported.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police said that another first information report has been filed against the Ranas under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), reported ANI.
While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray had exhorted members to play the Hanuman Chalisa if the Maha Vikas Aghadi government failed to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3, the Ranas scaled up the matter by threatening to recite the devotional hymn outside the chief minister’s home.
Hundreds of Shiv Sena workers had surrounded the couple’s home in suburban Khar on Saturday morning amid high drama. They also tried to force their way into their society, but were stopped by the police.
The workers sought an apology from Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana. Hours later the couple cancelled their plan, stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Mumbai on Sunday and they do not want any law and order problems to arise.
The Mumbai Police, however, arrested them for promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
Advocate Rizwan Merchant, representing the legislators, noted that two separate FIRs have been registered against the couple at Khar police station. “All the charges are baseless and we will apply for bail,” he added.