Former minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh got an anticipatory bail from a Patna court in one of the cases lodged against him for hate speeches during electioneering last week but a non-bailable arrest warrant remained pending.
A Patna court headed by district and sessions judge Birendra Kumar granted anticipatory bail to the BJP leader in connection with a case lodged with the Airport police station in the city under provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and the Indian Penal Code. Giriraj was charged under sections 171(E), 153(A and B), 295(A), and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 125 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act, 1951. The FIR was registered against the senior BJP leader on April 21 based on a written complaint of Durga Dutt Jha, an executive magistrate deputed at the Patna control room.
Giriraj’s counsel Janardan Rai argued before the court that his client had submitted his reply to the competent authority through mail and that his assertions were not aimed at any particular caste or community. “The allegations against my client are baseless. He (Singh) has not violated the Election Commission’s model code of conduct, as alleged by the complainant in the FIR,” the counsel told the court.
Rai further argued that the case had been lodged under political pressure and aimed at tarnishing the image of the politician. The contents of the showcause notice served on Giriraj and that of the FIR were quite different, he told the court.
The court subsequently agreed to Rai’s argument and granted Giriraj anticipatory bail, considered a great relief for the elusive BJP leader who went into hiding after learning about the visit of a Bokaro police team to Patna.
During an election campaign in Bokaro, Giriraj had said those opposing the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, should go to Pakistan. He made a similar statement at the Patna airport before leaving for Jharkhand. The Bokaro police team is still camping in Patna with a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against Giriraj for his hate speech during a rally in Jharkhand.
“A joint team of the Jharkhand and the Patna police conducted raids at his ancestral house at Barahiya in Lakhisarai and Patna,” city superintendent of police Jayant Kant said.
He said the Patna police officers were co-operating with the visiting police team. “Whatever support they need from us, we are ready to extend,” he said, adding that raids were on to apprehend Giriraj.
So far four FIRs have been lodged against the BJP leader, two each in Bihar and Jharkhand. Only a Bokaro court has issued an arrest warrant against him, an investigating officer said.
Singh had on Wednesday said he would surrender before a Jharkhand court. “But the hide-and-seek game is still going on,” a member of the Jharkhand police team said.
He said the Jharkhand police would try to arrest the leader before he surrenders. “If he continues to evade arrest, the police would pray to the court to issue an order to attach his property,” he said.