Sedition case: Court reserves order on Hardik's bail plea

Sessions court on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail pleas moved by Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel.

Ahmedabad: A city sessions court on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail pleas moved by Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and two of his aides in a sedition case.

Additional Sessions Judge N G Dave heard the arguments made by the prosecution and defence on the bail pleas and is likely to decide on them on Friday.

Hardik, Dinesh Bambhaniya and Chirag Patel, currently lodged in jail, had filed their bail applications last month.

Besides them, another PAAS member, Ketan Patel is also behind bars in connection with the case.

During the arguments today, Hardik's lawyer B M Mangukiya told the court that the FIR against Hardik and other leaders of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which had spearheading the agitation of Patel community members seeking reservation under OBC quota, was "fabricated and politically motivated".

He argued that holding the stir does not amount to sedition, as mentioned in the FIR filed against the PAAS leaders by the city crime branch on October 21.

The crime branch had charged Hardik and five of his key accomplices under sections 121 (waging war against government), 124 (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity) of IPC.

However, the Gujarat High Court had recently removed section 121, 153-A and 153-B from the FIR while retaining the charge of sedition.

Mangukiya alleged that the FIR was filed as a part of a "larger conspiracy" by state government to keep Hardik and other PAAS leaders away from the recently-held local body polls.

The counsel also questioned "legality" of the call interception records of these leaders, which were used as the base by crime branch to press charges against Hardik and others.

Mangukiya accused the government of hiding the names of those who had spoken with Hardik and others during the stir "as many of these persons were BJP leaders who have given indirect support to Patel quota movement". 

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