Maharashtra government today said it is up to Nanded police to decide on arresting VHP leader Pravin Togadia after he was booked for his alleged hate speech even as BJP cautioned against attempting a 'balancing' act equating his case with that of arrested Akbaruddin Owaisi.
Togadia on his part alleged that the hate speech cases lodged against him in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra were an
attempt by "vote-greedy political people" to engage him in legal tangles before elections in many states and the
subsequent Lok Sabha polls due in 2014.
Refuting charges of a delay in taking action against the leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for his alleged 'hate
speech' in Nanded on January 22, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said a case was filed after the Nanded Superintendent of Police found objectionable content in his speech.
We have sought legal opinion so as to take further action against him (Togadia). We seek legal opinion because we
don't want to crush anybody's freedom of expression," Patil told reporters in Mumbai. An FIR was filed against Togadia yesterday by Nanded police on the charge of promoting enmity on grounds of religion.
He said whenever there are instances of hate speeches,the police officials concerned scrutinise the statements and
if necessary, a case is filed.
In this case too, the Nanded police found objectionable content in his speech and accordingly registered a case. The investigation officer will decide whether Togadia should be arrested or not," he said.
Patil said the state government would not tolerate anybody making inflammatory speeches and sowing seeds of
hatred between communities.
BJP said the law should takes its own course in the case faced by Togadia and there should be no political motives.
This case should not be related to the Akbaruddin Owaisi hate speech. That would not be fair. Government should not try to do a balancing act that a case has been filed against Owaisi so one has to be filed against Togadia as well," BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in Delhi.
"Owaisi had declared a war against the nation.
In Togadia's speech even if a minor case is made out, law should definitely take its course," he added.
In a statement released in AllahabAd, Togadia said,"There are concerted political efforts to fix me in malicious
cases and, thereby, distract the nation from the core issues of Hindus, including construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya."