Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale has got bail for the second time in two days in a case in which he has been accused of spreading fake news about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the site of Morbi bridge collapse, the party said.
Gokhale was first held in Rajasthan’s Jaipur on December 5 by the Gujarat Police. He was formally arrested after being brought to Ahmedabad, and subsequently sent to police custody till December 8. The Gujarat Police had alleged that Gokhale tweeted fake news about Modi’s visit to Morbi to get political mileage.
On Thursday, a court in Ahmedabad granted bail to Gokhale, but he was soon re-arrested in another case filed in the Morbi district. A court in Morbi granted him bail again on Friday, according to Live Law.
The Morbi Police accused Gokhale of allegedly “promoting enmity between classes during the elections” apart from spreading fake news about Modi, reported The Indian Express.
The allegations made in this case are on similar lines as the first one that had been registered in Ahmedabad. The prime minister had visited Morbi on November 1, a day after the bridge on the Machchu river collapsed, leaving 141 people dead.
On December 1, Gokhale had shared a news clipping about a purported Right to Information application which claimed that Modi’s visit to Morbi cost Rs 30 crore. However, on the same day, the Press Information Bureau tweeted a fact check saying that the information was fake.
The news clipping appeared to be from the local newspaper Gujarat Samachar. The newspaper later denied having published the news, according to the police.
On Thursday, the Trinamool Congress spokesperson was granted bail in the case by an Ahmedabad court. Party MP Derek O’Brien tweeted about his bail at 4.47 pm on Thursday. However, less than five hours later, O’Brien tweeted that Gokhale had been arrested again at 8.45 pm.
He added that the spokesperson had been taken into custody without any notice or warrant and was being taken to an “unknown destination”.
In the second case, Gokhale has been charged under Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes) of the Representation of People’s Act. An election official in the Morbi Assembly constituency, who filed the first information report, said that Gokhale had tweeted the alleged fake news at a time when the Model Code of Conduct was in effect in Gujarat due to state elections.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress has sent a five-member delegation to Morbi.
“Not a single arrest in Morbi tragedy but a TRUTH-TELLER must be harassed,” the party tweeted. “We stand by Saket Gokhale & we will FIGHT with all our MIGHT.”