Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Thursday said the state police will take the custody of Hindu religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj, arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police for his alleged derogatory comments against Mahatma Gandhi, and opined that the seer should be booked for sedition.
Asked about a notice issued to Union minister Narayan Rane to visit a police station at Sindhudurg in Maharashtra to record his statement in a case in which his MLA son Nitesh Rane is named as an accused, Walse Patil told reporters that the police must have issued the notice as per the law.
Earlier in the day, the Chhattisgarh Police arrested Kalicharan Maharaj from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh in connection with his alleged derogatory comments against Mahatma Gandhi.
The religious leader is facing cases in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra over his alleged comments. He is a resident of Akola city in Maharashtra.
Asked if the Maharashtra police will also seek the seer's custody, Walse Patil said the state police will take his custody and also investigate the cases registered against him.
The use of derogatory language against the Father of the Nation is a ‘big crime’, he told reporters at the Nagpur airport.
“Actually, offence of sedition should be registered (against Kalicharan Maharaj). However, the Maharashtra Police will investigate the cases registered against him in the state,” the minister said.
On Sunday, an FIR was registered against Kalicharan Maharaj in Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur for allegedly using derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi. A case was also registered against him at Akola in Maharashtra on Monday in this connection.
Maharashtra minister Jitendra Awhad also filed a police case in Thane city against the seer on Wednesday over his alleged remarks.
The Pune police also recently registered a case against Kalicharan Maharaj, right-wing leader Milind Ekbote and four others for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during an event in the Maharashtra city on December 19 and hurting religious sentiments, officials earlier said.
To a query on Maharashtra police's notice to Union minister Narayan Rane in connection with a case against his son Nitesh Rane, Walse Patil said, “Whenever police investigate a case, they do it as permitted under the law, not in any other way. I feel the police must have issued the notice as per the law.”
BJP MLA Nitesh Rane, who represents Kankavli constituency in Sindhudurg district, has been named as an accused in connection with an alleged attack on one Santosh Parab.
The Sindhudurg police on Wednesday issued a notice to Narayan Rane to present his son before them.
They also asked Narayan Rane to be present at Kankavli police station to record his statement in connection with the case, but he did not appear at the given time, following which police pasted the notice at his residence there.