The Chhattisgarh High Court on Friday granted bail to Hindu religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj, over three months after he was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi at an event in state capital Raipur.

A Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Chandel granted bail to the 44-year-old religious leader.

As per the High Court's order, the applicant shall be released on "bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two solvent sureties each for a sum of Rs 50,000 to the satisfaction of the concerned trial court for his appearance before the said court as and when directed".

During the bail hearing, Senior Advocate Kishore Bhaduri for the applicant submitted that his client is innocent and he has been falsely implicated in the case due to political rivalry. The offence under section 124A of the IPC (sedition) is prima facie not made out against the applicant, he added.

Sunil Otwani, Additional Advocate General appearing for the state opposed the bail plea.

Looking at the nature of the offences against the accused, it is prayed that the bail application may be rejected, Otwani told the Court.

The Raipur Police had arrested Kalicharan Maharaj alias Abhijeet Dhananjay Saraag from a rented room near Bageshwar Dham, located about 25 km from Khajuraho town in Madhya Pradesh, on December 30 last year.

On December 26, an FIR was registered against Kalicharan Maharaj with Raipur's Tikrapara police station under sections 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and 294 (obscene acts) here for allegedly using derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi during the conclusion of two-day 'dharma sansad' (religious parliament) organised in Raipur on December 26.

The religious leader's comments against the Father of the Nation had drawn nationwide flak. Later, the police added 124 A (sedition) and four other sections of the IPC in the case.

Earlier, a Court in Raipur had denied bail to Kalicharan Maharaj, who hails from Akola district in Maharashtra.

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