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Notice to state government has been issued by the Gujarat High Court on the bail application of BJP MLA Jetha Bharwad, charged with attempt to murder, for his alleged involvement in a firing incident during polling in the 2012 Assembly elections.

Four persons had been injured on December 17 last year during the second phase of polling, when Bharwad’s bodyguard allegedly opened fire in Tarsang village.

Bharwad was the party candidate from Sahera in Panchmahal district.

Issuing the notice, Justice Anant Dave asked the state government to file its reply by February 4, when the next hearing is scheduled.

A sessions court in Godhra had on January 8 rejected the bail application of Bharwad, currently lodged in jail there.

Principal Sessions Judge D T Soni, while rejecting Bharwad’s bail application, had held that “prima facie a case against the accused has been made out and looking at the conduct of the accused he is not allowed to be released on bail.”

In his petition in the high court, the MLA contended that entire case against him was “imaginary and the fallout of political rivalry”.

“He (Bharwad) was not at all involved in the offences which were registered against him in the FIR. The facts of the incident are totally opposite to what has been claimed in the FIR,” senior counsel Prakash M Thakkar representing Bharwad told the high court.

Bharwad was injured in the alleged stone pelting on December 17 and admitted in a private hospital in Godhra.

He, along with his bodyguard and five others, was booked for attempt to murder on December 18. Bharwad was detained while undergoing treatment for head injuries.

Bharwad had escaped from Apollo Hospital in Ahmedabad where he was brought for undergoing a CT scan procedure.

He was later apprehended after the Godhra court rejected his anticipatory bail plea.

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