Mumbai: A Mumbai court on Monday, granted bail to Nagpur-based BJP IT cell activist, Sameet Thakkar, who was arrested by the state capital police for his allegedly “offensive tweets” over Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray.
Thakkar was booked by the Mumbai police in July under IPC sections for defamation and circulating obscene article, writing, drawing or any other representation and under Information Technology Act. In his complaint with the Mumbai police, Shiv Sena’s legal advisor Dharam Mishra alleged that Thakkar had posted a picture of Uddhav and Aaditya on his Twitter account likening him to a Mughal ruler. Thakkar was also accused of using abusive language against Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. Mishra said Thakkar abused and insulted the Sena leaders in public domain but also made a mockery of the state government. Two more cases were also registered against him, including one in Nagpur.
Earlier, the top court of the country declined to entertain a petition under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, filed by Thakkar to seek his release with his counsel Mahesh Jethmalani on Monday, alleging violation of his fundamental rights in a wrongful arrest. He also wanted consolidation of all three criminal cases registered against him in Nagpur and Mumbai and to ensure a single probe.
The state counsel in the Supreme Court said that Thakkar was in police custody and his next remand date was November 16. The state counsel also said that Thakkar’s interrogation is completed and the state has no objection if submits a bail application.
The BJP IT Cell activist has a case in Nagpur and two cases against him in Mumbai, one at VP Road police station and the other at the BKC cyber police. He was arrested on October 24 and sent to police custody. He was re-arrested, a third time by the BKC police after he got bail. His latest arrest by the BKC Cyber Police is about one of his tweets in August, alleging that Aaditya Thackeray was involved in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Thakkar is, however, not the first to have been arrested by the state police for alleged offensive online content. There have been several such arrests in the past under the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. BJP leaders have severely criticised such police action, slamming it as a clamp down on freedom of expression.