Surat: Surat Police on Monday opposed the bail plea of quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who is facing sedition charges, saying that he may tamper with evidence and try to influence the witnesses, if released from prison.
In response to Hardik's plea seeking bail in the first sedition case filed against him in the city, Surat Crime Branch filed its affidavit before the court of Principal Sessions Judge Geeta Gopi, who listed the matter for further hearing on 12 February.
22-year-old Hardik, the Patel quota agitation leader, had on 3 October, last year allegedly advised a Surat-based activist from his community to kill policemen rather than ending his life.
On 18 October, the crime branch lodged a case of sedition and arrested Hardik, who is now lodged in Surat jail.
"If you have so much courage...then go and kill a couple of policemen. Patels never commit suicide," Hardik had allegedly told one Vipul Desai, who had announced that he would kill himself in support of the agitation.
In the affidavit, filed on Monday by crime branch inspector JH Dahiya, police said a charge sheet was filed against Hardik on 8 January and further investigation is still on.
The crime branch told the court that Hardik is facing the serious charge of sedition and sufficient evidence has been collected to implicate him. However, it also stated that statements of some of the key witnesses are yet to be taken.
It opposed the bail plea, saying that considering Hardik's past behaviour, there is a strong possibility that he may try to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses to weaken the case.
Apart from the main charge sheet, filed on 8 January, police attached 600 pages of call detail records (CDR) and other documents with the charge sheet to implicate Hardik under IPC sections 124(A) (sedition), 115 (abetment of offence) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).
Besides sedition, Surat Police had also charged him in the FIR with IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups). However, the Gujarat High Court had removed that section from the FIR, but refused to drop the sedition charge against the quota agitation spearhead.
If convicted, Hardik can be sentenced to a maximum of life imprisonment, while minimum sentence is three years.
The second sedition case has been filed against Hardik and three of his aides in Ahmedabad city.