Last Updated: January 05, 2023, 23:47 IST
A court here on Thursday refused bail to Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a case related to alleged misuse of money collected through crowdfunding.
Observing that a case under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 467 (forgery) was made out against the accused, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Manish Chauhan rejected the bail plea.
Gokhale was subsequently sent to jail under judicial custody.
He will now have to approach the sessions court for relief.
Gokhale was arrested by the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Branch from Delhi on December 30 in a case of alleged misuse of money he had collected through crowdfunding. He was sent in police custody (remand) till December 4.
The First Information Report was registered on a complaint filed by an Ahmedabad city resident who claimed to have donated Rs 500 to Gokhale through online mode.
Gokhale argued that the complainant was a government employee, and the FIR was registered due to a grudge against him.
He had even paid tax on the funds collected, the TMC leader’s lawyer said.
The crowdfunding platform he used is also used by political parties, the lawyer added.
Gokhale was ailing and needs to take nearly 14 medicines every day, the lawyer added.
Opposing the bail plea, the public prosecutor said the case was not just about Rs 500 because Gokhale had collected nearly Rs 80 lakh from more than 1,700 persons through crowdfunding platform ‘ourdemocracy’ and used that money for personal use.
He urged people to help him financially, claiming he was a social activist and needed money to obtain information under Right To Information Act and other such “pro-people work”, the prosecution said.
The magistrate took note of the investigation officer’s report which said Gokhale cheated the donors as he used the funds for his personal use.
The TMC leader was arrested by Gujarat police thrice in December 2022.
He was first arrested by the Cyber Crime Branch on December 6 for allegedly spreading fake news regarding the cost incurred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi town following a bridge collapse there.
On December 1, Gokhale had shared a news clipping about information purportedly obtained through RTI which claimed that Modi’s visit to Morbi after the bridge collapse cost Rs 30 crore.
Soon after he received bail from an Ahmedabad court, the TMC leader was again arrested on December 8 by the Morbi police for the same offence registered there. He was granted bail the next day.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)