In a midnight order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday stayed the arrest of Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, directing Punjab Police to not take any coercive action against the BJP leader till May 10.
Bagga had moved the high court on Saturday challenging the arrest warrant issued against him by a Mohali Court earlier in the day. The matter was mentioned before the Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha who agreed to list the case on an urgent basis.
The late-night hearing of the plea was held at the residence of Justice Anoop Chitkara in Chandigarh. The high court will next hear the case on May 10.
The arrest warrant was issued by the court of Judicial Magistrate Ravtesh Inderjit Singh, relating to a case registered against Bagga on charges of making provocative statements against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, promoting enmity and for alleged criminal intimidation.
“Whereas Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga…stands charged with the offence punishable U/Sec 153-A, 505, 505 (2), 506 IPC, you are hereby directed to arrest the said Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga and to produce him before me,” the judge said in the order in a direction to the officer incharge of the police station, state cyber crime.
The Punjab Police had filed an application before the Mohali court for an issuance of the arrest warrant against Bagga. It submitted before the court that there was neither any stay on the arrest of Bagga nor any anticipatory bail application was moved by him.
Police also submitted that Bagga failed to appear before it despite the issuance of notices to him.Police also claimed that the Delhi Police got the accused released “forcibly and illegally.”
Bagga was arrested by the Punjab Police from his Delhi home on Friday, stopped in Haryana while being taken to Punjab and brought back to the national capital by Delhi Police hours later.
The Delhi Police had on Friday registered a case of kidnapping based on a complaint by Bagga’s father Pritpal Singh Bagga that “some people” came over to his house at around 8 am and took away his son.
Friday’s dramatic developments saw police forces of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi getting into a tussle over Bagga while triggering a political slugfest.The Punjab Police had booked Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga on the charges of making provocative statements, promoting enmity and criminal intimidation.
The case was registered on a complaint of AAP leader Sunny Ahluwalia, a resident of Mohali. The FIR registered on April 1 referred to Bagga’s remarks on March 30, when he was part of a BJP youth wing protest outside the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Bagga was booked under relevant sections, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place etc), 505 (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report) and 506 (criminal intimidation), of the Indian Penal Code.
The Punjab Police has maintained that a police team had gone to Delhi to arrest Bagga after he did not join the investigation despite serving five notices to him. After its team, which was bringing Bagga from Delhi, was stopped in Haryana, the Punjab Police moved the high court and filed a habeas corpus petition.
The Punjab government Saturday moved two applications before the Punjab and Haryana High Court here, seeking the Centre be made a party in the case, and that the May 6 CCTV footage of Janakpuri and Kurukshetra police stations be preserved.
The Punjab government has alleged that its police personnel were “detained” at Janakpuri and Kurukshetra police stations when they had gone to arrest Bagga in connection with a case registered against him at Mohali last month.