After the court-ordered 14-days of judicial custody, the Rana couple’s lawyer, Rizwan Merchant, is submitting for their bail application. The police have been given till April 27 to file their response to the bail plea.
This follows their arrest from their Khar mansion on Saturday after they cancelled a Hanuman Chalisa recitation outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence, ‘Matoshree.’
MLA Ravi Rana and his wife, MP Navneet Rana, both Independent legislators from eastern Maharashtra, were arrested on Saturday evening after escorting them out of their home in suburban Khar amid high drama for allegedly “promoting hatred amongst different groups.”
The news came only hours after the pair called off a planned recitation of the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private mansion, ‘Matoshree.’ According to a PTI report, the Ranas were charged under IPC section 153 (A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony) and section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of police prohibitory orders).
Navneet Rana, a Maharashtra MP, and Ravi Rana, an MLA from Badnera in the Amravati district, filed a case at the Khar police station charging chief minister Thackeray, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, and Sena leader and state transport minister Anil Parab of inciting people to ‘murder’ the couple. However, according to authorities, no case had been filed yet. Ravi Rana had earlier this month asked that CM Thackeray, the Shiv Sena’s leader, recite the Hanuman Chalisa at his residence on Hanuman Jayanti, and had threatened to go to Matoshree if the chief minister did not comply.
Ravi Rana had stated on Friday that he would visit Matoshree on Saturday. However, after receiving a strong response from Shiv Sena cadres, he stated on Saturday morning that he and his wife were cancelling their plans in order to avoid causing any law and order issues ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on April 24.
Despite their reversal, another high-voltage drama erupted when Sena cadres surrounded the building where the Ranas were living in nearby Khar and declared that the pair would not be allowed to leave until they apologised for insulting Matoshree, their “temple.” In the morning, Sena workers attempted to break past barricades and gain access to the building, but were prevented by police.