Gujarat police arrested Trinamul Congress national spokesperson Saket Gokhale for the second time on Thursday night in connection with the same tweet in which they had picked him up earlier this week.
However, a court in the western state on Friday granted bail to Gokhale on a bail bond of Rs 15,000 in the second case, PTI reported.
The Gujarat police had on Tuesday picked up Gokhale from Jaipur in Rajasthan over a tweet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi in the wake of a bridge collapse there. The Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell arrested him on the basis of an FIR registered under sections 465, 469, 471 (all for forgery) and 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the Indian Penal Code.
The December 1 tweet carried a newspaper clipping which purportedly claimed that Modi’s visit was at cost of Rs 30 crore. The Press Information Bureau later tweeted a “fact check”, claiming the information was false.
On Thursday, within hours of Gokhale securing bail from a metropolitan court, he was arrested again for allegedly promoting enmity between classes during elections.
“Gujarat Police arrests @ SaketGokhale twice in a span of three days, that too with the Model Code of Conduct still being in place!” Trinamul national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee tweeted on Friday morning, while a delegation of party MPs reached Gujarat to stand by Gokhale.
“Election Commission remains completely surrendered, continuously acting as a subservient to @BJP4India. Democracy remains to be in shambles!” added Abhishek on the microblogging site.
During the day, Trinamul’s Rajya Sabha member Jawhar Sircar raised the issue in Parliament, while a delegation submitted a memorandum to chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and election commissioners.
Trinamul asked Kumar why Gokhale was being charged under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which relates to promoting enmity between classes in connection with an election.
“We would urge you to order an immediate inquiry into the action initiated by the Gujarat police by falsely implicating Saket Gokhale and to put an end to all such physical, mental harassment inflicted upon him, not to speak of the loss of social and political reputation he is having in the eye of the people,” read the memorandum submitted by Trinamul to the chief election commissioner.
“We would also request you to take appropriate action against the police officials who would be found guilty in perpetrating such ghastly show of muscle power by misusing the provisions of RP Act in the manner epitomised above,” it added.