A Thane court on Thursday granted bail to controversial leader Kalicharan Maharaj, who was arrested in connection with a case registered against him here for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi.

Judicial Magistrate First Class SV Metil Patil ordered his release on furnishing cash security of Rs 15,000.

The seer was arrested by the Thane police last week in Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur, where he was lodged in a jail in a similar case filed against him there. Kalicharan Maharaj was later sent to judicial custody by the Thane Court after which he applied for bail.

In her order, the magistrate asked the seer, who hails from Akola district in eastern Maharashtra, to provide his residential address and contact details to police and cooperate with them in the case registered against him at the Naupada police station in Thane city.

His counsel who argued for his bail, pointed out that the incidents for which Kalicharan Maharaj had been arrested had taken place in Raipur and Pune (related to another event), and not in Thane.

Hence, he need not be kept in jail in Thane, they said.

Another ground on which they sought bail for the seer was that the Thane police did not follow the due process of law like issuing a notice before arresting him.

The case against the controversial religious leader was registered on a complaint filed by senior NCP Leader and Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad.

The seer and five others were booked under IPC sections 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 505 (2) (public mischief), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention).

Earlier, Kalicharan Maharaj had been arrested by the Raipur police for his alleged derogatory comments against Mahatma Gandhi at a conclave held in the Chhattisgarh capital city on December 26 last year.

On January 12, police in Maharashtra's Wardha had arrested him in a similar case registered against him there.

The Pune police had also arrested Kalicharan Maharaj for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during a programme held there on December 19, 2021.

With PTI inputs