Bombay HC stays probe in caste slur FIR against AAP leader | Mumbai News

Bombay HC stays probe in caste slur FIR against AAP leader | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday stayed the investigation in a first information report (FIR) against Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Maharashtra president Preeti Sharma Menon and a functionary under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Justices Sunil Shukre and Milind Sathaye granted interim relief to Menon, who is also a member of AAP’s national executive, and Manu Pillai, president (Mumbai unit). They moved the High Court as they apprehended arrest. On March 25 the Andheri police station booked them under Indian Penal Code sections including for rioting and defamation and under the Atrocities Act for insults or intimidation with intent to humiliate an SC/ST member and insult with caste name in a public place.
The FIR was filed on a March 16 complaint by Sanjay Kamble, a scheduled caste member, who joined AAP in May last year. He was told of the March 10 meeting at AAP’s Andheri office to discuss an issue. When Kamble went there with three others there were 25-30 people apart from office-bearers. Menon allegedly kept telling Kamble his
“mentality was low” and made a caste slur against him. Pillai allegedly tried to attack him. Kamble’s complaint said he was abused, manhandled and prevented from leaving the place.
But Menon and Pillai’s petition said the alleged incident is “completely false and fabricated” and the FIR is registered under “clear political vendetta.” “The petitioners are actively members of the political party which has declared its intention to contest BMC elections independently in all the seats. The said FIR is to malign the party and create a wrong image amongst the Dalit community for political gains,’’ it added.
The petition informed that membership of Kamble and a few other party members were terminated for anti-party activities. Referring to “enormous delay” in registration of FIR, it added that none of the sections applied carry more than seven years imprisonment and yet the police did not serve a notice under section 41 A of Criminal Procedure Code.
Senior advocate Mihir Desai, for Menon and Pillai, said there was a 6 day delay in Kamble filing the complaint. He also said the FIR is vague and does not specify Kamble’s caste. “The caste is not mentioned,’’ he said. Staying the investigation, the judges posted the hearing after four weeks.

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