A city court on Saturday granted interim bail till June 1 to DMK organisation secretary and Rajya Sabha member R S Bharathi, who was arrested for his alleged disparaging remarks made against the Scheduled Caste community a few months ago.
A battery of DMK lawyers, including senior counsel P Wilson and N R Elango, who are Rajya Sabha members of the party, rushed to Principal Sessions judge Selvakumars residence to pre-empt remanding of Bharathi in judicial custody.
Acceding to their plea for a reprieve in the meantime, the judge granted Bharathi interim bail till June 1.
An FIR was registered against Bharathi under the IPC provisions besides those of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, based on the complaint lodged by Athi Tamilar Makkal Katchi leader Kalyanasundaram for an alleged speech by the DMK leader at a party forum indoor meeting.
According to the interim order passed by the sessions judge, Bharathi was produced before him by police at 8.45am.
The investigating officer submitted that he had conducted a proper probe and remanding the accused in judicial custody is necessary.
Opposing the same, senior counsel Elango and Wilson argued the arrest is politically motivated.
“Though the case was originally registered at the Teynampet police station, on May 22 it was transferred to Chennai CCB.
Immediately after such transfer, the investigating officer arrested the accused without doing any further investigation,” the senior counsel said.
This apart, the accused has already moved the High Court seeking permission to surrender before the special court for MPs and MLAs with a direction to the court to consider his bail application on the same day, they added.
Pointing out that the wife and son of the accused are doctors attending ward duty in a government hospital, they said the accused himself was in home quarantine in view of his family members’ job.
“Remanding him in custody is likely to prejudice his health too,” they added.
Countering the arguments, state public prosecutor A Natarajan submitted there was no bar for the police to arrest the accused in view of pendency of quash petition or bail application.
Since the case falls under the SC/ST Act, the complainant has to be heard and no order can be passed without hearing him.
Recording the submissions, the sessions judge said a remand could be refused only when there is no prima facie case made out from the prosecution records.
Hence, the accused is remanded till June 5.
In view of the submissions that the quash petitions are pending with the high court and that the family members of the accused are doctors involved in COVID-19 work, the judge said there are possibilities of infection spreading to other inmates of jail.
Hence, the court is inclined to release the accused on interim bail till May 31 rather than keeping him in jail.
He shall surrender before the special court without fail on June 1 subject to the results of the pleas pending before the high court, the judge said.