The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted a transit pre-arrest bail to “Tandav” director Ali Abbas Zafar, Amazon Prime India head Aparna Purohit, producer Himanshu Mehra and the show’s writer Gaurav Solanki, against whom a case has been registered in Lucknow for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through the web series.
Justice PD Naik granted the relief to the four for a period of three weeks to enable them to approach the concerned court at Lucknow where the FIR was registered against them.
Earlier in the day, a four-member team of Uttar Pradesh Police arrived in Mumbai to conduct a probe into the case registered in Lucknow against “Tandav”, an official said.
The UP Police team is likely to record statements of the makers and cast and crew of the Amazon Prime Video series, which has been accused of hurting religious sentiments for its depiction of Hindu deities.
Lawyers Aabad Ponda and Aniket Nikam, who represented Ali Abbas Zafar Zafar and others, told the high court that the four applicants will require some time to approach the concerned court in Lucknow for a pre-arrest bail and hence required an interim relief from arrest.
“The (four) applicants are innocent and have been wrongly implicated in the offences,” the transit anticipatory bail plea said.
Abad Ponda and Aniket Nikam argued that a team of the Uttar Pradesh police had arrived in Mumbai to arrest the four. So the protection from arrest was required.
The four have been charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race and so on”, “injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class”, “public mischief with intent to cause fear or alarm” and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
At least three FIRs have been lodged against the makers and artists of “Tandav” in Uttar Pradesh – at Lucknow, Greater Noida and Shahjahanpur – for the alleged inappropriate depiction of UP Police personnel, deities, and adverse portrayal of a character playing prime minister in the show.
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