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Gujarat: AAP MLA accused of threatening forest dept staff, firing in air gets bail

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Rajpipla, Jan 22 (PTI) A sessions court in Gujarat's Narmada district on Monday granted regular bail to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Chaitar Vasava nearly six weeks after he was arrested for allegedly threatening a forest department official, firing in the air and extorting money.

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The court of sessions judge Nehal Joshi granted bail to tribal leader Vasava on a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and on the condition that he will not enter the boundary of Narmada district until the trial is completed.

As per the order, he will be allowed into the district only during the process of framing of charges and as per the direction of the trial court.

The legislator from Dediapada Assembly constituency in Narmada district and three others were booked under Indian Police Code (IPC) sections for rioting, extortion, and attack on government officials as well as the Arms Act.

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Vasava allegedly confronted forest officials he called to his residence to discuss the issue of encroachment of forest land of tribal farmers in his constituency.

The dispute arose after the forest department raised objections to the use of forest land for farming by private parties.

The incident occurred on the night of October 30, and an FIR was registered at Dediapada police station on November 2.

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Vasava is one of the five MLAs from AAP who won the 2022 assembly elections. He was also appointed by the party as its legislative party leader. He had on December 14 surrendered before the police in a case filed against him and others, including his wife.

He had sought bail on the grounds that being a legislator, it is imperative for him to remain present among the public of his constituency to resolve their problems.

His lawyer argued that the police case against him was fabricated as he was not present at the place where the incident occurred.

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He has not obstructed government officials carrying out their duty or threatened them and extorted money from them as alleged in the FIR, as per the lawyer.

The police had failed to recover used cartridges or seize the pistol used to fire in the air as per the FIR, he told the court while arguing for Vasava's bail.

The public prosecutor opposed the bail plea and told the court Vasava was a history sheeter with four FIRs lodged against him in the past.

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While granting bail, the court directed Vasava to cooperate in the investigation and in court proceedings during trial and to not threaten witnesses directly or indirectly.

He was also directed to deposit his passport, if he has one, in the court.

The court said it believes Vasava will not have to stay outside Narmada district for long as the trial is likely to be completed within six months to one year.

The Supreme Court and High Court have also directed the courts to complete trials against MLAs at the earliest, it observed. PTI COR KA BNM BNM

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