Filmmaker Avinash Das, arrested by the Gujarat Police in a case related to sharing a photograph of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with arrested IAS officer Pooja Singhal on Twitter, was granted bail by an Ahmedabad court on Thursday. Metropolitan Magistrate MV Chauhan granted bail to Das on the condition that he remains present before the crime branch in Ahmedabad during the first week of every month till the charge sheet is filed.
The crime branch arrested Das on Wednesday after picking him up from his residence in Mumbai the day before. The filmmaker was also accused of “insulting national honor” when he shared a photo of a painting of a woman draped in the national flag on Instagram and Facebook.
The court sent him to pretrial detention for one day. When he was brought before the court again on Thursday, Das’s lawyer applied for bail. The filmmaker did not share any altered or fake photos on social media, argued defense lawyer Uvesh Malik.
The painting of the woman with the tricolor was an original creation by Canadian artist Nimisha Bhanot and was exhibited during a seminar in Canada on Indian culture and women, he said.
Das merely shared the original image (his photograph) in 2017, which did not amount to any crime as the artwork was not altered or distorted, advocate Malik argued.
As for the photograph of Shah and Singhal, Malik claimed that it was taken during a public event and had already gone viral when Das tweeted it. Even the crime branch admitted in the FIR that the photograph was not fake, he said.
Sharing the original art and the already published photo was not a crime, Malik argued.
After hearing arguments, the judge granted bail to Das on a personal bond of Rs 10,000. Das directed the 2017 film ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’ starring Swara Bhaskar, Sanjay Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi and the 2021 film ‘Raat Baaki Hai’.
He also directed the Netflix series “She”.
The Ahmedabad Crime Branch has registered a first information report against the filmmaker under Section 469 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and also under the provisions of the Prevention of Defamation Act and the Information Technology Act regarding his social media posts. ALSO READ: Gujarat police arrest filmmaker Avinash Das over tweets to also search past ‘inappropriate’ posts
An FIR against 46-year-old Das was registered in June after he shared a photograph of Singhal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, talking to Shah.
According to the FIR, in the caption of the photo, Das claimed that the picture was taken a few days before Singhal’s arrest, when it was actually from 2017. According to the police, this was done with the intention of tarnishing Shah’s image.
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