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Affidavit case: Fadnavis appears before Maha court, gets bail

Affidavit case: Fadnavis appears before Maha court, gets bail

Nagpur: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appeared before a Nagpur court on Thursday in connection with a complaint seeking criminal proceedings against him for non-disclosure of criminal cases in his 2014 election affidavit.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate P S Ingle recorded the BJP leader's appearance before the court and granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 15,000.

The magistrate had given the last chance to Fadnavis to appear before the court on Thursday.

"The presence of the accused (Fadnavis) is secured.

The offences are bailable. There is no apprehension of him absconding. Hence, bail is granted," Magistrate Ingle said.

The court was hearing an application filed by advocate Satish Uke, seeking criminal proceedings to be initiated against Fadnavis for alleged non-disclosure of criminal cases registered against him in his election affidavit in 2014.

Fadnavis was granted exemption from appearance on four earlier occasions since November 2019.

The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on March 30.

Later, Fadnavis told reporters outside the court premises that his poll affidavit was filed by his advocate.

"The two cases against me are for carrying out public protests and not any personal or private complaint against me," Fadnavis said, adding that the cases have already been settled.

He also said there was no malafide intention behind not disclosing the two cases in the poll affidavit.

Claiming that the complaint seeking criminal action against him is "politically motivated", Fadnavis said, "I know who is behind this."

Uke alleged that Fadnavis, in his election affidavit filed in 2014, failed to disclose the pendency of two criminal cases against him.

The Supreme Court earlier this week reserved its order on an appeal filed by Fadnavis, seeking it to reconsider its 2019 verdict asking him to face trial for allegedly failing to furnish details of the two pending criminal cases against him in his 2014 affidavit.

Fadnavis in his appeal claimed that the law stipulates for disclosure of details about criminal cases only if charges are framed in those cases and on conviction.

In its judgment on October 1, 2019, the apex court set aside the Bombay High Court order which gave a clean chit to Fadnavis and held that he did not deserve to be tried for the alleged offence under the Representation of the People (RP) Act.

The verdict had come on an appeal by Uke, who had challenged the high court's order.

The apex court in its October 2019 order directed that a magistrate's court in Nagpur district consider afresh the complaint filed by Uke, seeking criminal proceedings to be initiated against Fadnavis under section 125-A of the RP Act.

Section 125-A of the RP Act deals with the penalty for "filing false affidavit", and says if a candidate or his proposer fails to furnish or gives false or conceals any information in his nomination paper on issues like pending criminal cases, then the person may be awarded six months jail term or fine or both.

Uke had initially moved a magisterial court which dismissed his complaint against Fadnavis on September 7, 2015.

He later moved a sessions court in Nagpur which remanded the matter to the magisterial court for a "de novo" (afresh) consideration.

Aggrieved by the sessions court order, Fadnavis moved the Bombay High Court, which on May 3, 2018 set it aside.

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