Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana will continue to be in jail till a sessions court in Mumbai hears their application for bail on April 29. Today the court asked the Mumbai police to file its reply on April 29 to their bail plea.

The couple had on Monday moved the Court seeking bail in an FIR registered by the Mumbai police against them on charges of sedition and promoting enmity, after they gave a call to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra.

When the matter came up for hearing in the Court today, the police said they want to respond with an affidavit to the bail plea. The Court accepted this and posted the matter for further hearing on April 29.

The politician couple was arrested by the Mumbai police on Saturday. While Navneet Rana was sent to the Byculla women's jail here, her husband Ravi Rana was shifted to the Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

Ranas' Advocate Rizwan Merchant on Monday said the couple decided to withdraw their bail plea pending before the Bandra Magistrate Court that had remanded them to 14-day judicial custody on Sunday.

Merchant had said the suburban Khar police initially booked the Ranas under Indian Penal Code Section 153(A), for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups. At the time of their remand, the police informed the magistrate court that they had added the charge of sedition, under IPC Section 124A, against the couple in the first FIR.

Their bail plea said the call to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside 'Matoshree' was not a calculated move to promote feelings of enmity or hatred and the charge under section 153(A) cannot be sustained.

There was no intention on part of the applicants to instigate or create hatred by offering Hanuman Chalisa near 'Matoshree', the couple said in their plea. It is submitted that by no stretch of imagination can the acts of the applicants be stated to constitute the offence of sedition, the plea said.

Further, the Mumbai police had issued notice under section 149 of the CrPC and the applicant (Navneet Rana) had complied with the police's direction and not stepped out of her residence, it added.

Navneet Rana, the Lok Sabha MP from Amravati in eastern Maharashtra, and Ravi Rana, the MLA from Badnera in Amravati, had eventually dropped their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa (hymns dedicated to Lord Hanuman) on Saturday outside Thackeray's home, citing the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mumbai for an event on Sunday.

With PTI inputs