NEW DELHI: In the second arrest by Assam police of an Opposition spokesperson for his alleged remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Pawan Khera was Thursday arrested at the airport in New Delhi before being released on interim bail by the Supreme Court.
Khera was on his way to Raipur for the Congress plenary session when he was arrested by the police who deplaned him and took him away.
“He was detained by the Delhi Police on a request by the Assam Police. We were just extending support to them. The arrest has been made by them,” a senior Delhi Police officer said.
The Supreme Court later in the day heard a plea on Khera’s behalf and ordered that the Congress spokesperson be released on interim bail till February 28.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said that upon being produced before the competent magistrate in Delhi, Khera would be released on interim bail.
Before Khera, TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale was similarly arrested from Jaipur by the police in December last and finally flown to Assam on the basis of FIRs filed against him there.
The apex court issued notices to the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh seeking their responses on Khera’s plea seeking clubbing of multiple FIRs lodged against him at Assam, Lucknow and Varanasi for his alleged remarks against the prime minister.
A case has been registered at Haflong police station in Assam against Khera under various sections of the IPC, including 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national interest), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), for his alleged remarks against the prime minister.
Dima Hasao Superintendent of Police Mayank Kumar told PTI that one Samuel Changsan filed a complaint on Wednesday at Haflong police station over Khera’s comments on Modi and other issues.
“His (Khera) comments against the PM is one part of the FIR. There are other complaints also. The case is registered under several sections of the IPC,” the SP said.
Kumar said that the sections are non-bailable and a police team has already gone to the National Capital to investigate the case.
Trinamool Congress national spokesperson Saket Gokhale was earlier arrested in December for a tweet endorsing an alleged fake news report about Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Gujarat’s Morbi town after the collapse of a suspension bridge in October. Gokhale was detained at Jaipur in Rajasthan, taken to Ahmedabad and finally flown to Assam before getting a bail.
Khera was earlier in the day asked by the Delhi Police to deplane. Congress leaders sat on dharna at the tarmac in protest and did not allow police to take him away without an arrest warrant.
Senior Delhi Police officials later handed over a document from Assam Police seeking their help in the detention of Khera.
Several party leaders got off the plane after Khera was deboarded and staged a dharna on the tarmac.
As drama escalated at terminal one of the domestic airport here, flight staff told Congress leaders there was confusion with Khera’s bags. They said police was on its way and would explain the reason to him.
“We are all on the @IndiGo6E flight 6E 204 to Raipur and all of a sudden my colleague @Pawankhera has been asked to deplane,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, who was also on the flight, said on Twitter.
“What sort of high handedness is this? Is there any rule of law? On what grounds is this being done and under whose order?” she said.
Source: Press Trust of India