Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s police custody was on Sunday extended by two more days till November 3 by an Ahmedabad court in an alleged case of sedition and waging war against the government.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate C G Mehta passed the order on an application of the city Crime Branch seeking seven days of further remand.
Hardik was produced before the court by the Crime Branch after his seven-day remand expired today and sought further remand on various grounds.
Public prosecutor Vanrajsinh Jebalia, representing the Crime Branch, stated in the remand application that Hardik, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), is “not cooperating” in the investigation.
Jebalia told the court that the probe agency has found at least 452 different groups were created on mobile messaging platform ‘WhatsApp’ by PAAS members across the state after their August 25 mega rally held here at the GMDC ground.
The probe agency argued that it needs to locate all the ‘administrators’ of these groups to know their roles in spreading “inflammatory messages”.
The Crime Branch submitted that it needs Hardik’s custody for cross-examination of these administrators who might have received instructions from him for creating disturbance across the state after the rally.
It also said that Hardik’s custody is necessary to delve into the details of domestic as well as foreign funding received by PAAS to run their movement.
The Crime Branch had filed a case of sedition against Hardik and five others on October 21 while charging them under Indian Penal Code sections 121 (waging war against government), 124 (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity).
Countering the prosecution argument, Hardik’s lawyer M Mangukia said that there was no need for further remand as ‘WhatsApp messages’ and other technical information can be retrieved even without the presence of his client.
He also contended that the Crime Branch was seeking remand for the “sake if it” as it has not asked a single question to Hardik for the last three days.
He argued that the latest remand application was the same as the previous application and there were no new grounds presented in it to validate their demand for further remand.
After the arguments, the court remanded Hardik in the custody of police till 4 PM of November 3.
Meanwhile, the probe agency also produced Hardik’s three close aides — Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel and Dinesh Patel in the court as their remand too expired today.
They were sent to judicial custody as the Crime Branch did not seek their further remand.