Day after ‘escape’, BJP MLA seeks anticipatory bail

Jetha Bharwad

BJP MLA Jetha Bharwad, who has been charged with attempt to murder in a case related to firing during polling in the Panchmahals district, on Wednesday moved a court seeking anticipatory bail.

Bharwad, who allegedly opened fire at a polling booth, injuring four people on December 17, sought interim protection from arrest in an application filed before a Judge in Godhra town of the Panchmahal district. His lawyer N D Rathod submitted the application in the court but when contacted he refused to comment on this.

The legislator from Sahera in the Panchmahals district is seeking re-election from the same constituency.

Sources said Bharwad appeared in front of the crowd in Shehra village of the Panchamahals district on Wednesday afternoon. He reportedly spoke to people "to clear the air" that he is not "absconding" but the doctors has advised him to rest at home and therefore he "left" from the hospital. However, despite several attempts police refused to comment on any development.

"As I have contested the election, my presence during the counting of votes (on December 20) and other poll-related process is necessary. For these reasons, the court should grant me anticipatory bail," Bharwad said in his plea.

District Judge D T Soni will hear the application on Thursday at 11 am.

The lawmaker and his bodyguard have been accused of firing at some people at a polling station in Tarsang village during the second phase of voting.

Bharwad had suffered head injuries after being pelted with stones and was initially admitted in a private hospital in Godhra. He has rejected the charges levelled against him.

"This is a conspiracy to malign my image. I had gone to polling stations to verify the information about bogus voting taking place at 15-odd booths," he said.

"When I reached the village, some people tried to attack me. My bodyguard was also attacked. Then my bodyguard opened fire in self-defence. If he had not resorted to firing, we would have been killed," he told reporters in Godhra.

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