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Filmmaker Das' transit pre-arrest bail plea rejected by HC

Mumbai/Ahmedabad: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected the transit pre-arrest bail plea filed by filmmaker Avinash Das, who was booked by the Gujarat Police for sharing a photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Jharkhand cadre IAS officer Pooja Singhal, who was recently arrested by the ED in a money laundering case.

In a related development, the Gujarat Police have summoned Mumbai-based Das (46), asking him to appear before them on Wednesday in connection with an FIR registered against him in Ahmedabad over the photo controversy, an official said.

A vacation bench of Justice Bharati Dangre rejected Das' transit anticipatory bail plea, filed through advocate Adil Khatri, and directed the filmmaker to approach the appropriate forum for relief".

Justice Dangre said Ahmedabad, where the FIR against Das was registered, was not too far from Mumbai.

The filmmaker should approach the court concerned in Ahmedabad for protection from arrest or any other relief pertaining to the case, the judge said.

Meanwhile, according to a Mumbai police official, Das, who resides in suburban Andheri, was served summons via an email under section 41A of the CrPC on Monday night.

Sources in the Ahmedabad crime branch confirmed the development.

The filmmaker's lawyer said he will file an anticipatory bail application in an Ahmedabad court on behalf of his client.

Khatri said, "Our client Avinash Das has received a notice under section 41A of the CrPC yesterday late night in his email. The police have summoned him to remain present on Wednesday in Gujarat. We are immediately filing an anticipatory bail application before the Sessions court at Ahmedabad for relief.''

The Enforcement Directorate earlier this month arrested Jharkhand mining secretary Singhal in a case of money laundering involving alleged diversion of MGNREGA funds, and also seized over Rs 18 crore in cash from the house of a chartered accountant, allegedly linked to the IAS officer.

An official from Ahmedabad Police's Detection of Crime Branch last week said Das shared the photo on his Twitter handle on May 8.

The photo showed Shah and Singhal at a public event five years ago, but Das tweeted it to mislead people and defame the minister's reputation, the official had said. MPOST

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