An Ahmedabad court on Thursday granted bail to filmmaker Avinash Das, who was arrested by Gujarat Police for allegedly sharing a photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with arrested IAS officer Pooja Singhal, PTI reported.
The photo of Shah and Singhal shared by Das on May 8, was taken in 2017 at an event in Ranchi. The police have alleged that the filmmaker shared the photo to defame the home minister and mislead citizens.
According to the first information report, Das claimed in a caption that the photo had been taken a few days before the suspended IAS officer’s arrest, although it had been clicked in 2017. Singhal, a former mining department secretary of Jharkhand, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on May 12 in an alleged money laundering case.
Das has also been booked for allegedly insulting the national flag by posting a morphed photo on Facebook of a woman dressed in the tricolour. He had posted the photo on March 17.
On Thursday, Das’ counsel Uvesh Malik said that the filmmaker did not share morphed or fake photos on social media, PTI reported.
The painting of a woman dressed in the tricolour was made by Canada-based artist Nimisha Bhanot and it had been put on display during a seminar in Canada about Indian culture and women, Malik said. Das had only shared a photo of the painting in 2017, the advocate added.
The sharing of the photo did not amount to any crime because the piece of art was not morphed or distorted, Malik said.
The photo of Shah and Singhal was taken at a public function and was shared widely even before Das had posted it on Twitter, Malik told the court. “Even the crime branch, in the FIR, admitted that the photo was not fake,” he said.
Metropolitan Magistrate MV Chauhan, while granting bail to Das, directed him to remain present before the Ahmedabad Crime Branch during the first week of every month until the chargesheet is filed.