SC directs BJP MLA Nitesh Rane to surrender in attempt to murder case, grants 10-day protection from arrest
A case was registered against Rane after a man filed a police complaint claiming that he was assaulted by persons linked with the Maharashtra BJP MLA on 18 December, 2021
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted 10 days protection from arrest to Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Nitesh Rane and directed him to surrender before the trial court and seek regular bail in connection with an attempt to murder case lodged in Sindhudurg district last month.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli while giving him protection from arrest asked Rane to surrender and apply for regular bail within 10 days.
"The SLP is disposed of with a direction to the petitioner to surrender before the concerned court and seek regular bail. He shall not be arrested for 10 days in the interim," the Bench said. Nitesh Rane, son of Union Minister Narayan Rane, challenged the 17 January Bombay High Court order which rejected his pre-arrest in an alleged attempt to murder case.
During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Nitesh Rane contended that this is a completely cooked-up case and allegations against him are completely bogus. Complainant is from another party and Rane from a different party, Rohatgi argued, adding that it was a case of "political rivalry".
"This is also a completely cooked up case on the eve of an election to District Cooperative Bank. I am a sitting MLA. The complainant is a person belonging to the opposition party.
The allegation is that the complainant was stabbed by a paper cutter. A paper cutter. The conspiracy is to kill this man with a paper cutter at 11 am in public. And charges against the petition is attempt to murder," Rohatgi argued on behalf of Nitesh Rane.
The case was cooked up as a retaliation to the "cat-call" incident in the Assembly, he added. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the State of Maharashtra, contended that they (accused) met in a vanity van and the photograph of the victim is shown in the petitioner's phone in the case record.
Call records of the accused have been seized, which show their regular inter-communications ahead of the crime, said Singhvi. He further said that the victim identified one of the accused in the Test Identification Parade. Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, also appearing for Nitesh Rane, said that the victim was seen roaming around freely a day after the injury and there are no direct phone calls connecting Rane and the attacker.
Nitesh Rane's plea seeking anticipatory bail was rejected by the High court after a local court in Sindhudurg district quashed his anticipatory bail on 31 December, 2021.
Nitesh Rane represents the Kankavli Assembly seat in the Sindhudurg district. A case was registered against Nitesh Rane after a Kankavli resident named Santosh Parab, 44, had filed a police complaint claiming he was assaulted by certain persons linked with the Kankavli MLA.
The incident took place on 18 December, 2021, in the Kankavli region of Maharashtra during the campaigning for the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections.
Nitesh Rane's plea in the High Court had stated that the police investigation has not yet found anything that would point to his involvement in the attempt-to-murder case. He has been charged with Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
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