The Bombay High Court on Thursday deferred till May 17 the hearing on an anticipatory bail petition filed by former Congress MP Nilesh Rane, son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, in a case of alleged kidnapping and assault on a party worker from Chiplun.
The hearing was adjourned to enable the petitioner to carry out amendments in his petition after his lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar said he had just got a copy of the Khed Sessions Court order which had rejected his pre-arrest bail plea. Judge M S Karnik said he was not inclined to give any interim protection to Rane until the next hearing.
Meanwhile, public prosecutor Arfan Sait, while opposing Rane's bail plea, told the HC that the police may not arrest Rane until the court hears the petition on May 17. However, his statement was not taken on record by the court. Rane's lawyer said he wanted to amend the petition because the sessions court, while rejecting Rane's bail plea on May 9, had made certain observations in his favour. The order had said investigations were over and custodial interrogation was no longer required in this case.
A case was earlier registered by Thane police against Rane, his personal assistant Tushar Panchal and bodyguard Manish Singh under IPC for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting Congress president of Chiplun Taluka Sandeep Sawant in April. According to the FIR, Rane and his accomplices had allegedly kidnapped Sawant and assaulted him on way to Mumbai for not attending a rally called by Nilesh Rane at Chiplun in Ratnagiri district to demand reservation for the Maratha community. Sawant was allegedly confined to a house at Andheri in Mumbai and later let-off.
Sawant had told Rane that he could not attend the rally because his mother had taken ill in a nearby village and he had to rush there to be with her.
On the basis of a complaint filed by Sawant, the Thane police registered a case against Rane and his accomplices. Soon after the incident, Sawant was hospitalised and Narayan Rane had visited him to pacify and urge him to withdraw the complaint against Nilesh Rane, but Sawant declared his resolve to fight the case. Rane's lawyer told the court today that the charges levelled against the Congress leader were not very serious and attracted punishment upto seven years, if proved against him.
The allegations that the accused was assaulted with hockey sticks were not true because no injury marks were found on his person when he was hospitalised, Shrirodkar argued.