On Sunday, a Goa court granted bail to two Maharashtra NCP functionaries who were detained for alleged impersonation while visiting in a resort where rebel Shiv Sena MLAs of the Eknath Shinde faction were housed.
Sonia Doohan, the student wing president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was arrested by Goa police after reportedly impersonating another person in order to stay at the resort.
Sonia Doohan and Shrey Kotial were granted bail by Panaji Judicial First Class Magistrate Shahir Issani with a guarantee of Rs 20,000 each, and they have been ordered to appear before the police for the next four days, according to their lawyer, Ritesh Rawal.
The prosecution claimed that Doohan and her accomplice entered the resort using a forged identity card, committing the crime of cheating by impersonation.
Doohan was charged with cheating under Indian Penal Code Sections 419 and 420. She was allegedly discovered with a list of MLAs from another political party who were also staying at the same resort, and she allegedly had a malicious purpose to hurt them at the behest of her own party, according to the prosecution.
The prosecution also rejected Doohan’s bail request, claiming that given her political history, she would be able to easily flee or threaten the witnesses in the case. Doohan said she was innocent and had been wrongfully accused. She applied for bail, claiming she had no criminal history and was willing to follow the court’s rules.
Dheeraj Sharma, another NCP functionary, claimed the two had travelled to Goa as tourists and were being harassed by the BJP-led administration.
Judicial Magistrate Shahir Issani ruled that the Goa police’s reasons for opposing bail were ambiguous.
“The bail application is opposed on vague grounds, such as the Applicant’s political history, and she may threaten witnesses and flee. It is also stated that the Applicant’s address and antecedents have still to be verified, and her identification must be established. Such vague pleas cannot be used to reject the bail application,” the order stated.
The Magistrate also stated that the claimed offences were bailable in nature and that the offence of cheating, as defined in Section 415 of the IPC, had not been proven.
Observing that the police arrest of an accused absconding might be handled with severe terms, the Magistrate ordered Goa police to release Doohan in exchange for a personal bond of 20,000.
Case Title: Sonia Doohan vs State of Goa