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The Hindu
The Hindu
Legal Correspondent

SC asks MLA Nitesh Rane to surrender and seek bail, protects him from arrest for 10 days

Supreme Court of India. File (Source: The Hindu)

The Supreme Court on Thursday, January 27, 2022, gave Maharashtra BJP MLA Nitesh Rane 10 days of protection from arrest in an attempt to murder case and asked him to surrender and seek regular bail in a trial court.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana did not comment on the merits of the case.

Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Sidharth Luthra, for Mr. Rane, submitted that the charges against the leader were "completely bogus". The prosecution version was that a "deep-rooted conspiracy" was hatched to stab the complainant with a "paper-cutter".

'Bogus case'

"This is a completely bogus case. This shows the extent to which the State and the ruling party will go against my client who is a two-time MLA... This is a case of the police being more loyal than the king," Mr. Rohatgi argued.

"As far as Sindhudurg is concerned, you [Nitesh Rane] are the king," senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, for Maharashtra, retorted.

Mr. Nitesh Rane, the son of Union Minister Narayan Rane, represents Kankavli Assembly seat in the Sindhudurg district.

"Why don't you [Nitesh Rane] surrender and get regular bail?" Chief Justice Ramana asked Mr. Rohatgi.

Mr. Rohatgi persisted in his line of argument, focusing on the purported incredulity of the nature of charges against his client.

"How can you have a conspiracy, hire killers to cause a simple injury with a paper-cutter on the complainant, who is a member of an opposite party," Mr. Rohatgi asked.

Mr. Luthra said the alleged victim was "roaming around" the very next day after the alleged incident in December.

Mr. Singhvi countered that Mr. Nitesh Rane's lawyers were trying to "over-simplify" the incident.

He said the weapon was not a blunt "paper-cutter" found on a study table but a formidable one which caused serious harm. Mr. Singhvi said there was evidence to show a link between Mr. Nitesh Rane, his close associates and the attack. A detailed investigation has been done along with a test identification parade.

But the Supreme Court refused to go into the facts and merits of the case.

"We are not here to decide the facts... That is for the trial court," the Bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, intervened before passing the order for Mr. Nitesh Rane to surrender while protecting him from any coercive action from the police for the time being.

The Bombay High Court had recently rejected anticipatory bail to Mr. Nitesh Rane in the case.

The case was registered against Mr. Nitesh Rane after a Kankavli resident filed a police complaint claiming he was assaulted by certain persons linked with the MLA. The incident took place in December during the campaigning for the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank election.

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