Lucknow : There was a “strong case” against Varun Gandhi, the Allahabad High Court said Wednesday while refusing to intervene in the arrest of the budding Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician whose communal speeches have led to a criminal case.
A division bench comprising Justices Imtiaz Murtaza and Subhash Chandra Nigam said in the open court: “Prima facie, there is a strong case against him.”
Making it clear that they were not prepared to stay his arrest, the judges also declined to go into Varun Gandhi’s request for anticipatory bail on grounds that he had already got that from the Delhi High Court.
“When the Delhi High Court has granted anticipatory bail, then why must you seek the same relief from a lateral court,” Justice Murtaza observed.
Varun Gandhi’s counsel Gopal Chaturvedi said the application seeking anticipatory bail and stay against arrest was moved before the Allahabad High Court because the Uttar Pradesh police could take a plea that the Delhi High Court did not have jurisdiction over Pilibhit.
Asked why the anticipatory bail application was moved in Delhi in that case, Chaturvedi pointed out: “Well, that was because the Election Commission is based in Delhi and it was the Commission that had asked the local authorities to register a case.”
Chaturvedi now proposes to move the Supreme Court to insure Varun Gandhi against arrest by authorities in Uttar Pradesh.
Varun Gandhi has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the People’s Representative Act for “promoting enmity” and acts “prejudicial to maintenance of harmony” by police in Pilibhit, widely known as the political bastion of his mother Maneka Gandhi, estranged kin of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The non-bailable case against Varun Gandhi, who said the CDs of his speeches were doctored, was lodged in Pilibhit’s Barkheda police station following a directive from the Election Commission to Uttar Pradesh’s chief electoral officer.