Mumbai: A Mumbai court here on Thursday granted bail to a television journalist arrested for allegedly `spreading misinformation’ with his report that the government was thinking of starting Jan Sadharan train services for migrants, which allegedly led to a crowd gathering in Bandra.
Rahul Kulkarni, the journalist with a Marathi news channel, was arrested by Mumbai Police on Wednesday, a day after several migrant workers gathered near Bandra station here demanding that they are sent back to their home towns.
Kulkarni was produced before a magistrate in Bandra on Thursday where the police sought his custody.
The court, however, refused the police’s plea and remanded Kulkarni in judicial custody, following which his advocate Subodh Desai immediately filed a bail application.
After hearing brief arguments, the court granted him bail on a surety of Rs 15,000.
Ten others arrested in the case were remanded in police custody till April 19.
The police booked Kulkarni under Indian Penal Code Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 505(b) (intent to cause fear or alarm among public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the state or against public tranquillity), and provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
According to police, Kulkarni allegedly gave a “false” story, saying the Railways was going to start special trains to ferry migrant workers stranded in Maharashtra back to their native states.
The police said hundreds of migrant workers gathered at the Bandra station on Tuesday after watching the news, and they were later dispersed.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut hailed court’s decision to grant bail to Kulkarni.
He said the arrest of the journalist in connection with the gathering of migrants in Bandra was unfortunate.
Talking to a news channel, Raut said the government and media were both important pillars of democracy.
“Both sides should be alert that such an incident should not happen again. I am happy journalist Rahul Kulkarni got bail. The police should find out truth into the charges on which he was arrested,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
Raut, who is the executive editor of Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said he was speaking as a journalist and not Sena leader.
He said the “Railways was also responsible for the problem”.