A court in Mumbai has granted anticipatory bail to Union minister Narayan Rane and his MLA son Nitesh Rane in a case of allegedly making defamatory and misleading statements about Disha Salian, the former manager of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Additional sessions judge (Dindoshi court) S U Baghele allowed their pre-arrest bail plea.

Salian (28) allegedly committed suicide by jumping off a high-rise in suburban Malad on June 8, 2020. Six days later, Sushant Rajput was found hanging in his flat in Bandra area in Mumbai.

A case was registered against Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane and BJP MLA Nitesh Rane at Malvani police station here. Salian's mother had filed a complaint, alleging that Narayan Rane made slanderous and misleading claims about Disha's death at a press conference on February 19, 2022, in the presence of his son.

Fearing arrest, the father-son duo had sought anticipatory bail from the court.

Their lawyer Satish Maneshinde said before the court on Tuesday that Narayan Rane and Nitesh Rane have become a "punching bag" for the Maharashtra government.

Apart from a single statement, there is no other evidence, and several bogus cases have been registered against them elsewhere, he had submitted.

Referring to Ranes' visit to the police station earlier this month, Maneshinde said they were at the station from 1.45 pm to 10 pm. For such a complaint, a statement can be recorded in five minutes. It does not require eight to ten hours, the lawyer said. Maneshinde also said that Narayan Rane had only stated that the probe into Salian's death had not been carried out properly, and he was seeking justice for her. This was not a case where custodial interrogation was necessary.

Special public prosecutor Ashoke Gharat had argued that police were going by fact and law and not by political rivalry." There was a thorough probe into Salian's death and her family was satisfied with it", the prosecutor said.

Narayan Rane is an honourable union cabinet minister, Nitesh is an honourable MLA They are not ordinary people .they are expected to talk with responsibility, he added.

With PTI inputs