Kota: Television and reality star Payal Rohatgi, remanded to judicial custody till December 24 by a metropolitan court on Monday on the charges of posting objectionable content on social media against the Nehru-Gandhi family few months ago, was granted bail, here on Tuesday.
Additional district and session judge-1 of Bundi granted bail to the actor on personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of Rs 25,000 each, her lawyer Bhupendra Sahay Saxena told IANS.
Speaking to media, Payal said, “It was very cold in jail. But inmates were good. They shared their stories with me.”
She spent one day with inmates, some of them charged with murder, loot and smuggling.
Sangram Singh, her partner, said, “The news of her bail makes me happy. I want to say to common man to trust in judiciary as it gives right verdict.” Raising questions over her arrest, Singh said he had been with the Delhi Police and “no FIR can be lodged in this case.”
Payal’s lawyer said she didn’t commit any offence for which her bail plea could have been rejected. “The court has given a big relief to Payal. There was no case for her detention. She had filed an interim bail plea. But she was arrested under political pressure,” the lawyer said.
When Payal’s earlier bail application was rejected by a lower court, Saxena moved the court of a district judge. It was taken up by an additional district court because the district judge was on leave, said Saxena adding, the district and session judge hence passed the order.
Stating that the liberty of speech has been part of the Constitution, he said Payal had just quoted sentences from a book, written by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal assistant — M.O. Mathai.
The book was still in the public domain and was never banned, the lawyer said and added, Payal had also quoted the reference of Mathai.
“There was no case of spreading religious hatred/social disharmony,” he said and added, the Rajasthan Chief Minister acted under pressure from the ‘first family’ of India.
Payal was a bold woman as she told me “it felt bad to be sent behind bars but then this was also an experience.”
On October 10, Congress worker Charmesh Sharma lodged a complaint against Payal for posting ‘an objectionable video on Nehru and family on the Facebook and Twitter. A case under section 67A of the IT Act and section 504, 505(2) of the IPC was registered against the actor.
“Despite several notices, Payal didn’t come to Bundi to take part in the police investigation. The notices were sent via e-mail, posts and even a team was sent to look for her.
“This time, the police team traced and arrested her,” Bundi Superintendent of Police (SP) Mamta Gupta had said after the arrest. A police team from Bundi had to camp in Ahmedabad for three days to arrest her on Sunday, Gupta added.
Soon after her arrest, Rohatgi had tweeted on her Twitter handle: “I am arrested by @PoliceRajasthan for making a video on #MotilalNehru which I made from taking information from @google… Freedom of Speech is a joke.”