Sharad Pawar defamation row: Actress Ketaki Chitale gets bail in one case, to remain in jail

Chitale was arrested following a complaint over her alleged defamatory social media posts aimed at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.

Marathi actress Ketaki Chitale, who was arrested last month following a complaint over her alleged defamatory social media posts aimed at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, got bail in a 2020 Facebook post case from a Thane court on Thursday. However, she will not be released from prison as she has many cases against her.

Earlier today, the 29-year-old actress had filed a fresh petition in the Bombay High Court seeking that her arrest and detention by the Kalwa police on May 14 be declared illegal and in breach of the law. She was arrested for allegedly sharing a poem on Facebook which NCP leaders saw as an insult to 81-year-old Pawar. Several FIRs have since been lodged against Chitale at police stations across Maharashtra. Last month, a Thane court sent the actor to 14-day judicial custody after her police custody ended.

The FIR filed against Chitale was “for a derogatory Facebook post against Pawar while misusing the name of Sant Tukaram”. On May 15, the Thane Police booked the actress under several provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Sections 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving defamatory matter) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups). Chitale’s alleged post on Pawar angered several NCP workers, with incidents of manhandling and ink being thrown at her reported at the time of arrest.

While the post was attributed to another person, the 29-year-old actress had posted a Marathi poem with only the surname ‘Pawar’ and a mention of an age, which read as 80. The poem had references to several illnesses of the NCP chief.

Last week, the Navi Mumbai Police had filed a charge sheet against Chitale under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for her Facebook post, dating back to 2020, against Buddhism after she landed in soup over derogatory remarks against the NCP chief.

The police also recorded the statements of three friends of advocate Swapnil Jagtap, who had filed the complaint against the actor, in connection with the case. The three individuals were in the WhatsApp group where the Facebook post was shared.

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