The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted a transit pre-arrest bail to ‘Tandav’ director Ali Abbas Zafar, Amazon Prime India head Aparna Purohit, producer Himanshu Mehra and the show’s writer Gaurav Solanki, against whom a case was registered in Lucknow for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through the web series. Justice P D Naik granted the relief to the four for a period of three weeks to enable them to approach the concerned
court at Lucknow where the FIR was registered against them.
Earlier in the day, a four-member team of Uttar Pradesh Police arrived in Mumbai to conduct a probe into the case registered in Lucknow against “Tandav”, an official said.
The UP Police team is likely to record statements of the makers and cast and crew of the Amazon Prime Video’s series, which has been accused of hurting religious sentiments for its depiction of Hindu deities.
Lawyers Aabad Ponda and Aniket Nikam, who represented Zafar and others, told the high court that the four require some time to approach the concerned court in Lucknow for a pre-arrest bail and hence require an interim relief from arrest.
“The (four) applicants are innocent and have been wrongly implicated in the offences,” the transit anticipatory bail plea said.
Ponda and Nikam argued that a team of the Uttar Pradesh police had arrived in Mumbai to arrest the four and hence the protection from arrest was required.
The four have been booked under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race and so on), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 501 (1)(B) (public mischief with intent to cause fear or alarm) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
They approached the high court on Wednesday. At least three FIRs have been lodged against the makers and artists of “Tandav” in Uttar Pradesh – at Lucknow, Greater Noida and Shahjahanpur – for alleged inappropriate depiction of UP Police personnel, deities, and adverse portrayal of a character playing prime minister in the show.
“Tandav”, a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, started streaming last week.