Bombay HC frees celebrity lawyer

Bombay HC frees celebrity lawyer

Bombay HC frees celebrity lawyer

In a major embarrassment to the police and the Maharashtra Government, the Bombay High Court ordered the release of celebrity lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui, who had been arrested in the Thane CDRs scandal.

Siddiqui was arrested by the Thane Crime Branch on March 16 and was in police custody till March 23.

During the hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed by Siddiqui's wife Tasneem, a division bench of the Bombay High Court,  consisting of  justices S C Dharmadhikari and Prakash D Naik, ordered the release of the lawyer by 5 pm on Wednesday.

"They (Thane police) had acted in a high-handed manner and failed to follow due process of law," the bench said.

The court also asked the home department - that is headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis  - to inquire into the actions of the Thane police and take action if they were wrong.

"I had full faith in the judiciary. You can read in the court order if they found the Thane police action against me fair or not," said Siddiqui, in his brief comments soon after the release.

The court found that the notice had been issued on March 15, asking Rizwan Siddiqui to be present before it on March 17 at 11 am.  However, he was arrested before he could have presented himself.

When government lawyer Aruna Pai raised objection to Siddiqui's release,  pointing  out as per the magistrate court order, he had been remanded in police custody till March 23.

"The magistrate's order is not binding upon this court. This court had to intervene only because due process of law was not followed by officials concerned," the court  replied.