The Gujarat Police on Thursday arrested Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale for the third time this month, unidentified officials told PTI.
Gokhale was arrested by the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Branch in Delhi late on Thursday on charges of alleged misuse of money he had collected through crowdfunding, the officials said. Gokhale and officials of the Crime Branch are expected to reach Ahmedabad on Friday evening.
“Gujarat Police informed us their team is coming to New Delhi district in connection with a case and will conduct a raid,” an unidentified Delhi Police official told The Indian Express. “They later arrested Gokhale. We didn’t know it was regarding his arrest. We were only told about the location of the raid and team which came.”
Trinamool Congress officials told Scroll.in that he was arrested from Banga Bhavan in the national capital, in what they described was a “cooked up cyber case”. They linked Gokhale’s arrest to his criticism of the Modi government.
Earlier this month, Gokhale had been arrested twice within four days over a news clipping he shared on social media about a purported Right to Information application that claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Morbi bridge collapse site cost Rs 30 crore. However, the Press Information Bureau had flagged that the information was fake.
The prime minister had visited Morbi on November 1, a day after the bridge on the Machchu river collapsed, leaving 141 people dead.
Gokhale was first held in Jaipur on December 5 by the Gujarat Police without the knowledge of the Rajasthan 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 December 8, an Ahmedabad court granted him bail, but he was soon re-arrested in another case filed in the Morbi district. The Morbi Police accused Gokhale of allegedly “promoting enmity between classes during the elections” apart from spreading fake news about Modi.
On December 9, Gokhale managed to get bail in the second case as well.
On Thursday, hours before he was arrested for a third time, Gokhale wrote in a tweet that the National Human Rights Commission has registered a case of unlawful detention against the Gujarat Police in relation to his arrest in the first case.
“The case is for taking me into illegal custody without a transit remand [and without informing local police] from Jaipur to Ahmedabad,” Gokhale tweeted.