The Mumbai Police on Saturday arrested Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana on charges of "creating enmity between different groups".
The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed the couple's plea to quash the FIR's lodged against them stating, "Petitioners who are active politically are expected to behave responsibly. Great power comes with great responsibility. The expectation of responsible conduct of those persons who have an active life, is a reasonable expectation."
The independent legislators had threatened to recite the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Matoshree, the house of Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
A few weeks ago, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray demanded the removal of "illegal speakers" playing azaan in mosques, warning that if loudspeakers weren't removed, MNS supporters would install loudspeakers outside mosques and play the Hanuman Chalisa.
Kicking off from Thackeray's proclamation, Ravi Rana asked Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray to organise a chanting of Hanuman Chalisa at Matoshree on Hanuman Jayanti to stop the calamities that have befallen the state.
The couple then announced that they would sit in front of Matoshree on April 22 to recite Hanuman Chalisa since the CM did not do so, angering Sena workers.
Shiv Sena workers gathered in large numbers outside Matoshree as well as the Khar residence of the Ranas.
Despite a police notice ordering the couple not to go ahead with their plan, the Ranas arrived in Mumbai on Friday and were laid seige to by Sena workers.
The couple were persuaded by police officers to accompany them to the Khar Police station but not before announcing that they had called off their plan citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit and the ensuing security concerns.
"Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis spoke to me and told me about Prime Minister Narendra Modi being honoured with the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award on Sunday. Therefore, in order to avoid any untoward incident a day before the programme today, we decided to withdraw our decision to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside the residence of the CM," Ravi Rana said.
The Mumbai police charged the couple with sedition on Sunday along with charges of assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.
Who Are Ravi and Navneet Rana?
Ravi Rana is a three-time Independent MLA from Badnera. His wife Navneet is a first-time Lok Sabha MP from Amravati.
Ravi Rana beat the incumbent NCP MLA Sulbha Khodke in the 2009 election before beating the Shiv Sena's Sanjay Band and Priti Band in the 2014 and 2019 Assembly elections respectively.
Navneet is a former actress who appeared in numerous south Indian films in the 2000s.
According to the Indian Express, Ravi and Navneet met at a Yog Shivir Ravi organised by Baba Ramdev and the duo were persuaded to marry by Ramdev in 2011.
Despite Ravi beating the sitting NCP MLA in the 2009 Assembly elections, his wife Navneet was able to secure an NCP ticket to contest against sitting Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul. Navneet lost by more than 1.4 lakh votes.
However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Navneet secured an upset win over Adsul winning by a margin of 37,000 votes.
Since then, Navneet's election has come under doubt after the Bombay High Court cancelled her caste certificate , ruling that it was obtained fraudulently using fabricated documents. Navneet was also fined Rs two lakhs by the court.
"In our view, there are two sets of documents produced by the respondent no.3 (Navneet Rana) which were contradictory to each other before the scrutiny committee. The respondent no.3 had claimed to be 'Sikh Chamar' as well as 'Ravidasiya Mochi'," the HC said.
Amravati is a constituency reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates. The court, however, did not say if Navneet's election would be void.
Navneet said she would contest the judgement.
What Are The Ranas' Political ideology?
Apart from Navneet contesting on a NCP ticket in 2014, the Ranas have run as Independent candidates. However, the pair have sided with political parties as and when they wished.
Prior to the 2019 Vidhan Sabha elections, Ravi Rana's Yuva Swabhiman Sanghatana was part of the Congress-NCP UPA alliance. However, post-elections Ravi switched over to back the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA stating that the Devendra Fadnavis government had the support of 175 MLAs.
Do you always want to share the authentic news with your friends?