After questioning Republic Consulting Editor Pradeep Bhandari for several hours, he was released from Khar police station by Mumbai police today. Talking to Editor in Chief Arnab Goswami moments after his release, Bhandari said that the police ignored the anticipatory bail granted to him by police and kept him illegally detained for 8 hours.
He was finally released by police after day-long questioning after Arnab Goswami sent several Republic reporters to question the police why Bhandari has been detained for so long. As at least five reporters kept questioning the police officials on live TV, Pradeep Bhandari was allowed to leave the police station.
Pradeep Bhandari said that when he asked for the Panchnama, the police refuse to give him the same. He had had arrived in Mumbai from Patna, where he was covering the upcoming assembly elections, following a summon by court. Bhandari said that in the garb of the summon Mumbai police resorted to custodial interrogation, which was a violation of court’s bail order.
Minutes before Bhandari came out of the police station, he tweeted that Mumbai police had attempted to arrest him, disregarding the bail order by police.
Bhandari also revealed that the police seized three mobile phones from him, and when protested, he was said that they had ‘orders from above’ to confiscate his phones. When he refused to unlock the phones, the police even called a tech expert to unlock the phones. He said that one of the phones belongs to his friend, but police refuse to give that phone also.
The journalist said that he was surrounded by police the entire day, and he was not even allowed to go to the bathroom or to have water. He said that he was kept inside a room without a fan for 10 hours, and when requested to come out for just 5 minutes break, he was not allowed, saying he can’t leave the room with his phones. When he said that he wanted to talk to his mother, they didn’t allow him, and several policemen surrounded him. His phones were kept by police while he was allowed to go.
He also revealed that police had pushed him and attempted to physically assaulted him minutes before his release, but the arrival of Republic reporters with cameras stopped the police from assaulting him.
A day after Pradeep Bhandari was granted an anticipatory bail against a non-bailable complaint, he was once again summoned by the Mumbai police to appear before the court on October 22. The Republic TV senior journalist wrote on Twitter that he is currently in Bihar, analysing the upcoming Assembly elections, and would be reaching the Khar Police Station today.
Pradip Bhandari had earlier slammed Mumbai PC Singh for partiality, working on the behest of his political masters and not respecting the police uniform. Following the embarrassment, the Mumbai police had upped its ante against the independent media network and summoned its consulting editor and journalist Pradeep Bhandari for questioning.
A complaint against Bhandari was registered at the Khar police station under Articles 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of IPC and 37(1), 135 of the Bombay Police Act, and he has been asked to appear for the investigation of the said crime.