A local court in Mehsana district of Gujarat has issued a Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) against Patidar leader Hardik Patel in connection with a 2015 case where Hardik and several other Patidar leaders were accused of ransacking a BJP MLA's office, media reports said.
The Economic Times reported that the court issued the NBW over non-appearance in the case's hearings. Speaking to the newspaper, Lalji Patel, a key aid of Hardik who was also named in the case, said that he had missed only the last hearing while Hardik could not appear in the last three hearings. This would be the first precedent in the country when an NBW is issued for missing a single hearing, he said.
Hardik was named in an FIR, along with 17 others, for ransacking the office of BJP MLA Rishikesh Patel and instigating the mob to pelt his car with stones during the protest rally of Patidar community demanding reservation in July 2015.
The Gujarat High Court had earlier too, given him bail in the case, but with the restriction that he will not be able to go the Mehasana district in which Visnagar town is located till the trial of the Visnagar MLA office attack case is over, Ahmedabad Mirror had reported.
Visnagar was one of the nerve-centres of the Patidar community's agitation which started in July 2015. Hardik-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had remained critical of the ruling BJP during the agitation, claiming that the party had duped the Patel youth by asking for votes but doing nothing in return for the community.
Hardik is also facing two sedition cases filed by Ahmedabad and Surat police following the agitation, which arguably fueled his animosity with the current BJP government.
The news comes in the backdrop of reports that the Patidar leader, who shot to fame after spearheading a massive agitation in July 2015, is leaning towards the Congress party ahead of the crucial elections in the BJP bastion.
Congress had invited Hardik and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to meet party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and join the party to ensure the ruling BJP's defeat.
While news reports, and a leaked CCTV footage, indicated that Hardik did meet the Congress vice-president, however, the Patidar leader denied the reports claiming that when he will meet Rahul, the whole country would be aware of it.
The Congress had reportedly assured Hardik that if voted to power, the party will take action against the alleged police excesses in controlling the Patidars quota stir in August 2015.
Gujarat politics is especially gaining steam around the Patidar community's leanings, with both Congress and BJP vying for their support. Narendra Patel, another Patidar leader also alleged that the BJP offered him Rs one crore to join the party. Narendra had 'joined' the BJP just a couple of hours before he made the allegations, in a high-drama press conference where he also presented wads of notes.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 25, 2017 17:37 PM