Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel have moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of cases pending against them in Mumbai to a court in Shimla, alleging there would be threat to their lives if the trial proceeds there because of “personal vendetta” of Shiv Sena leaders against them.
The actor and her sister said they apprehend that if trial in these cases are conducted in Mumbai, there would be a “material threat” to their life and property as the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government has been “harassing” them.
“The petitioners face a threat unto life if the trials proceed in Mumbai, because of personal vendetta of Shiv Sena leaders against the petitioner herein,” said the plea, filed recently through advocate Neeraj Shekhar.
The plea has sought transfer of trial of FIRs and complaints registered against them, including a complaint case filed by veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar against Ms Ranaut alleging defamation, from Mumbai to a competent court in Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
It said that Mr Akhtar had filed a complaint case against Ms Ranaut alleging criminal defamation after the actor had given an interview to a news channel last year in which she had talked about a meeting with the lyricist in 2016.
It has further sought transfer of an FIR lodged in Mumbai by one Ali Kashif Khan Deshmukh which relates to Ms Chandel’s tweet in which she had expressed her anguish over attack on doctors during COVID-19 pandemic.
It said subsequently, Twitter account of Ms Chandel was suspended after which Ms Ranaut had spoken on a social media video against it.
The plea said Mr Khan had lodged an FIR against Ms Ranaut and Ms Chandel for the alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 295A which deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class.
It said that the same complainant had also filed a complaint case before the Metropolitan Magistrate, Andheri, against the petitioners.
“Multiple proceedings on the same cause of action clearly demonstrates how the said complainant is just trying to harass the petitioners herein,” the plea has alleged.
The plea has also sought transfer of an FIR lodged by one Munawar Ali for the alleged offences of sedition against them.
“It is pertinent to mention that all the FIRs and complaints in question are frivolous and have been filed with a malicious intent to harass the petitioners herein and malign their public image,” the plea has alleged.
“While, the petitioners have utmost respect for the courts of the country and are ready to face the trial as per law, but they apprehend that if the trials are conducted in Mumbai, there will be a material threat to life and property of the petitioners herein,” it said, adding, “It is pertinent to mention that the Maharashtra government led by Shiv Sena has been harassing the petitioners herein.”
It said that in September last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had illegally demolished a part of the Pali Hill bungalow of Ms Ranaut.
The plea said later, the Bombay High Court had declared the BMC’s act as illegal.
“These acts of the Maharashtra government clearly shows that the Maharashtra government has malafide intentions against the petitioners herein and that if the petitioners visit Maharashtra to attend the said trials, there will be a constant threat to them from the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra government,” it claimed.
The plea has also mentioned that looking at the threat perception of Ms Ranaut, she was granted Y-plus category of CRPF security by the home ministry.
“Therefore, it becomes quite evident that the petitioners face serious threat to life and property and if the trial of the cases are not transferred out of Mumbai, the petitioners life will be at risk,” it said while seeking transfer of these cases from Mumbai to Shimla.
It alleged that “the Shiv Sena will leave no stone unturned to eliminate the petitioners herein, because of the petitioner No. 1’s (Ranaut) continuous outspokenness against the wrongs done by the Shiv Sena in collusion with big names of the Bollywood”.