Trouble for Hardik as court rejects his plea in 'sedition' case

Trouble for Hardik as court rejects his plea in 'sedition' case

Trouble for Hardik as court rejects his plea in 'sedition' case

Ahmedabad Sessions Court on Wednesday rejected a plea by Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel to discharge him in a 'sedition' case.

The state government had slapped sedition charge on Hardik in 2015 after the launch of Patel quota stir in the state and violent incidents. As many as a dozen people had lost their lives in the violence during the Patel quota stir.

The Ahmedabad crime branch had filed a 2700-page charge sheet in January 2016 against Hardik and his then associates Dinesh Bhambania, Chirag Patel and Ketan Patel for damage to property, sedition, pre-planned conspiracy and other criminal activities.

The plea by Hardik, who is currently out on bail since June 2016, was rejected by Sessions court judge Dilip Mahida on Wednesday. The court has allowed framing of charges against Hardik in the case.

Hardik had in his plea stated that there was no proof to suggest his involvement in any criminal activity or an attempt to destablise the state government during the agitation. The court rejected the claim and accepted the prosecution's plea that there was material evidence against Hardik on the basis of which charges can be framed.

The court said that speeches, conversations and forensic evidence against the accused establish that Hardik and two others - Dinesh and Chirag - had hatched a conspiracy and used pressure and threat to force the government to accept their demands.

The court also considered the deposition by co-accused-turned-approver, Ketan Patel, as evidence against Hardik and said that a case was made out against Hardik, Dinesh and Chirag under Sections 121 (A) (conspiracy to overawe the state or central government, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force), 124 (A) (sedition), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.

No hostility  

The Gujarat High Court too had rejected a similar plea by Hardik in October 2015 to quash the FIR. The High Court had, however, asked the police to scrap charges of "promoting enmity between the two communities or groups" as Hardik's speeches for his community did not refer to hostility. He later moved Supreme Court for relief.

The police alleged that due to such activities of PAAS leaders, 457 FIRs relating to arson, assault and rioting have been filed across Gujarat between July 7, 2016 and December 3, 2016. If found guilty, the accused could be sentenced to life imprisonment.