Congress Lok Sabha candidate Imran Masood, arrested for hate speech in which he allegedly threatened to "chop" Narendra Modi "into pieces", was today granted bail after defence argued that he was wrongly charged under sections for hurting religious sentiments.
Masood, who was sent to jail for 14 days after a video footage of a rally in Saharanpur showed him attacking Modi had gone viral on the web, was granted bail by additional district judge Chaturth Chavanprakash here on two bonds of Rs 50,000 each with a warning not to make such remarks.
During the proceedings, the defence counsel argued that Masood had been wrongly charged under sections pertaining to hurting religious sentiments saying his statements were not derogatory to any particular religious group.
"Modi is not a religious leader and any comment made against him does not hurt any religious sentiments," the defence said.
Presenting evidence that the video clipping was of an old rally, the defence counsel said the man standing next to Masood, Sher Singh Rana, had passed away and also pointed out that the Congress leader was not surrounded by security men as would have been the case if it was an election rally.
Warning that such statements should not be repeated, Judge Chavanprakash granted bail to 40-year-old Masood.
In a video that went viral on the web, Masood threatened to "chop" Modi "into pieces", a remark that led to an FIR being filed against him on March 28 besides sparking an outrage. He was subsequently arrested on March 29.
Masood has been booked under section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting religion or religious beliefs), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of Representation of People Act, and 310 SC/ST Act.
Masood was produced before Deoband Judicial Magistrate Archana Rani on March 29 and was sent to judicial custody for 14 days.