Relief for Pawan Khera after SC grants interim bail

Congress approached apex court after the senior leader was arrested by Assam Police at Delhi airport for his comments on PM

NEW DELHI | Updated: 23 February, 2023 5:36 pm IST

In a major relief to Congress leader Pawan Khera, the Supreme Court on Thursday, February 23, directed a Delhi court to grant interim bail to him.

Khera was dramatically arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi by Assam Police in connection with alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said that upon being produced before the competent magistrate in Delhi, Khera would be released on interim bail.

Appearing for Khera at the SC, party colleague and senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said that the language used during the press conference was erroneous and that he wouldn’t stand by it. He also said that the petitioner would also tender an unconditional apology.

“He (Khera) has made statements in a press conference. He has made certain statements, which I cannot say in court but which I personally would not have made,” Singhvi said.

Singhvi, however, argued that the multiple FIRs in different states were deliberate harassment and urged the top court to consolidate all FIRs under one jurisdiction.

Chief Justice Chandrachud told Singhvi that his client has been granted protection, but “there has to be some level of discourse”.

The Supreme Court issued notices to the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh seeking their responses on Khera’s plea seeking the clubbing of multiple FIRs lodged against him in Assam, Lucknow and Varanasi for his alleged remarks against the Prime Minister.

Earlier in the day, Khera, who is also the chairman of the Congress media and publicity department, was deplaned from his Raipur-bound flight by a team of Delhi Police and Assam Police in connection with the FIR registered in the northeastern state.

A case was registered against the Congress leader at Haflong police station in Dima Hasao district under various sections of the IPC, including 153A (disturbing religious harmony), 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national interest), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), for his alleged remarks against the Prime Minister. He was placed under arrest by Assam Police.

While being escorted out of the airport, Khera said, “We will see (in which case he has been arrested). It’s a long battle and I am ready to fight.”

He was then taken to the hospital for a checkup and then produced before a Dwarka Court here.

In a video statement shot at the airport tarmac before his arrest, Khera said, “I was told that there is an issue with my baggage, though I only had hand baggage. They told me you couldn’t fly. Then they said the DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police) would meet you. I have been waiting for a long time. There is no sign of law and order.”

Following his deplaning from the flight, Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, Imran Pratapgarhi, KC Venugopal and Supriya Shrinate all sat in protest on the tarmac near the aircraft. They also raised slogans against the central government for arresting Khera.

Also Read Story

Apollo Hospital introduces minimal invasive Robotic cardiac surgery

Water crisis deepens in Delhi amid heatwave

Biden’s G7 Summit actions trigger health concerns: video sparks debate

India renames Tibetan places in response to China’s territorial claims