Varun all set to walk out of jail (Lead)April 16th, 2009 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS
Etah (Uttar Pradesh), April 16 (IANS) Varun Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader jailed here for his hate speeches, was Thursday set to walk free though jail officials were awaiting the Supreme Court’s order in this regard.
The apex court earlier in the day ordered Varun Gandhi’s “forthwith release” for two weeks to enable him to file his nomination for Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency and campaign for the polls.
Within hours, his mother Maneka Gandhi, who has represented Pilibhit in the Lok Sabha five times, rushed here from neighbouring Aonla constituency where she was busy campaigning for herself.
However, the young leader’s release was set to be a low-key affair as there were barely 100-odd party supporters who had converged outside the Etah prison gates for his reception. No prominent BJP leader was present in Etah, about 300 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.
While Maneka Gandhi, a former central minister, was ushered inside the jail premises along with her personal aide, party workers waiting outside tried to keep up the tempo by intermittently raising slogans of “Varun Gandhi Zindabad” and “Maneka Gandhi Zindabad”.
It was, however, not clear how much time it would take before Varun Gandhi, 29, would get released.
“We have yet to receive the apex court’s order. It would be routed to us though the district magistrate,” Etah district jail superintendent R.V. Sharma told mediapersons.
“The procedure is that the court’s order is sent to the district magistrate who in turn issues the order to the concerned jail after which the jail authorities have to get various formalities completed before the detainee can be released,” he explained.
Asked if Varun Gandhi would be released even if the court’s order arrived after sunset, which under normal procedures was the deadline to release anybody from prison, the jail superintendent said: “That rule does not apply in NSA (National Security Act) cases.”
Varun Gandhi’s speeches in Dalchand locality of Pilibhit town, about 300 km from Lucknow, March 7 and at Barkhera village March 8, targeting the minority community, had created a controversy. He was arrested March 28.
He was charged with provisions under the stringent NSA the next day as his arrest came amid violence by his supporters who also clashed with police.
He was initially lodged in Pilibhit jail but moved to Etah jail for security reasons.
Tags: act cases, apex court, bharatiya janata party, district jail, district magistrate, formalities, forthwith, jail authorities, jail officials, Lok Sabha, maneka gandhi, national security act, odd party, party supporters, personal aide, prison gates, sabha constituency, varun gandhi, young leader, zindabad