Raj arrested, freed on bail (Second Lead)

November 15th, 2008 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayMumbai, Nov 15 (IANS) In a surprise development, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was arrested Saturday on ‘technical grounds’ following a non-bailable warrant issued by a Jamshedpur court but freed soon on bail.The case pertains to Thackeray’s certain remarks against people from north India, in particular from Uttar Pradesh and Bihari, in the past few months.

Hamid Reza Khan, a lawyer from Jamshedpur, had filed a complaint before a court in that Jharkhand city. Magistrate A.K. Tiwary on Sep 30 issued a non-bailable warrant against Thackeray directing him to remain present before the court Nov 17.

The warrant was handed over to the Shivaji Park police station, under whose jurisdiction Thackeray lives in south-central Mumbai, for suitable action.

Accompanied by a few close party advisers, the MNS chief went to surrender before the Mazagaon magistrate’s court in south Mumbai, where he was subsequently put under arrest and released on bail on a personal bond of Rs.50,000.

On grounds of insufficient evidence, the magistrate also declined a request by the police seeking transit remand for the MNS chief prior to his appearance before the Jamshedpur court Monday.

Thackeray’s lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar told mediapersons outside the court that since the MNS chief was granted bail, he would not be required to travel to Jamshedpur for the court hearing Monday.

He also said that the party had moved the Ranchi High Court to transfer all cases filed against Raj in Jharkhand, including the one in Jamshedpur to Mumbai, or to a single court in that state. That case will come up for hearing before the Ranchi High Court next Friday (Nov 21).

Unlike the past two occasions when Thackeray’s arrest had sparked off violence by MNS supporters across Maharashtra and retaliatory violence in some northern states, Saturday’s police operation went off smoothly, and the city remained free of any tension.

Barring senior party aides, there were few party workers or policemen around the Mazagaon court in the afternoon.

Thackeray, estranged nephew of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, has been campaigning against people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar coming to Maharashtra in search of jobs. His advocacy of the cause of Marathi-speaking people led to violence, loss of at least five lives and destruction of private and public properties in February and September-October this year.

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