Firebrand VHP leader Praveen Togadia was on Thursday booked by the Maharashtra police for his alleged hate speech made in the state after the Centre pushed for action amid increasing demand to file a case.
According to Ahmed Javed, Additional Director General of Maharashtra police, an FIR was filed in a police station in Nanded in connection with the hate speech made on January 22.
Further details are awaited but it is being reported that the case was registered under Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 505 (statements conducing public mischief) of the IPC.
As the demand for action against Togadia over his provocative speech intensified, the Maharashtra government was asked by the Centre to book the leader of the Hindu outfit if he is found to be violating laws after probing the charges.
The Maharashtra government ordered an inquiry into the provocative speeches made by Togadia against members of a particular community even as the state Minorities Affairs Minister Naseem Khan demanded on Thursday that it file a case against him.
The state government, which has assured the Centre at the highest level that they will take due legal process, was asked by the Centre to investigate allegations that Togadia made provocative speeches.
"The Home Ministry's advise is clear. Once they have confirmed forensic evidence, appropriate action as per law must be taken against Togadia," an official said in New Delhi.
Union Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said if Togadia's speech is inflammatory, the state government must take action against him.
The case was filed after the Congress-NCP government in the state reportedly ordered forensic examination of Togadia's speech for its alleged inflammatory contents.
At a public meeting at Bhokar town in Nanded district of Maharashtra on January 22- details of which are now surfacing after a video-recording was posted online- Togadia had allegedly attacked Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi and members of a particular community.
Owaisi was sent to jail on charges of delivering a hate speech at Nirmal town in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh last month.
The VHP leader had also triggered a controversy by making an alleged speech on February 1 near Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh.
Naseem Khan said he had spoken to the Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil today. "He has ordered an inquiry (into Togadia's remarks)," Khan told PTI in Mumbai.