Kangana moves HC to quash FIR on sedition, other charges

Mumbai: Facing sedition charges, actress Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel moved the Bombay High Court on Monday, seeking to quash an FIR filed against them by the city police for allegedly “trying to create hatred and communal tension” through their social media posts.

The FIR, under sedition and other charges, was registered pursuant to orders passed by the Bandra magistrate’s court directing the Mumbai police to carry out an inquiry against Ranaut and her sister following a complaint lodged against them.

“Kangana and Rangoli have filed a petition in the Bombay High Court for quashing of the FIR and the magistrate’s order,” their advocate Rizwan Siddiquee told PTI.

He said the petition has also sought the court to stay the summons issued against the duo asking them to appear before the police for questioning, and also a direction to the police to not take any coercive steps against them.

The Mumbai police last week summoned Ranaut and her sister for the third time to record their statements on November 23 and 24, respectively.

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However, the 33-year-old Bollywood actor did not appear before the police on Monday for the third time.

The police have filed the FIR against Ranaut and her sister under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race), 295-A (deliberate acts hurting religious sentiments) and 124-A (sedition), 34 (common intention).

Magistrate Jaydeo Ghule on October 17 passed the order directing the police to conduct an inquiry and register an FIR on a complaint filed before the court by casting director and fitness trainer Munnawarali Sayyed, seeking action against Ranaut and her sister for their posts on social media.

In his complaint, Sayyed pointed out to the court several posts published by Ranuat and her sister on their social media accounts related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case, lynching of two seers in Maharashtra’s Palghar district and a post comparing Mumbai with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The complaint said an investigation was required to ascertain the real motive behind such posts that allegedly create hatred and communal tensions.

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Agreeing with contents of the complaint, the magistrate, in his order, said, “Prima facie, on perusal of the complaint and submissions, I found a cognisable offence has been committed by the accused persons and a thorough investigation is necessary.”

The police on the same day registered an FIR against Ranaut and Rangoli and subsequently issued summons on two occasions, asking the sisters to appear before them for recording their statements.

The sisters, however, responded to the summons, saying they cannot come to Mumbai as they were in Himachal Pradesh, their native state, for a wedding function at home.

Following this, a third summons was issued last week asking Ranuat to appear before the police on November 23 and Chandel on November 24.

The Bandra police had first summoned Kangana and her sister Rangoli on October 26 and 27 and the second time on November 9 and 10, respectively, but they failed to appear before them on both occasions, an official said.

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