The Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Chaitar Vasava in a case of allegedly threatening forest officers and firing in the air while trying to resolve an issue pertaining to cultivation of forest land by local tribals in Narmada district.
Justice JC Doshi rejected Vasava’s pre-arrest bail plea, filed through his lawyer, while observing the legislator did not have the authority to call two forest department officials to his home and run a “parallel court” to resolve the issue of encroachment on the said land.
The HC observed orally that persons who had grievances with the forest department officials should have approached the court rather than the opposition MLA from the Dediapada seat for resolution of the issue.
“He (Vasava) had no authority to call forest officers to his house and should not have run a parallel court. If someone has a problem, he should go to the court,” Justice Doshi observed.
Vasava is absconding after an FIR (first information report) was lodged by the police against him, his wife, personal secretary and one more person for allegedly threatening forest department officials and firing one round in the air with his pistol at his residence at Dediapada in Narmada district.
His wife, personal secretary and one more person named in the FIR have been arrested in the case.
The MLA and the three others were booked under Indian Police Code (IPC) sections related to rioting, extortion and attack on government officials as well as under relevant provisions of the Arms Act for confronting forest department personnel called to Vasava’s residence to discuss the issue of encroachment on forest land.
The dispute arose after the forest department raised objections to the use of forest land for farming by private parties. The incident occurred on the night of October 30, and an FIR was registered at the Dediapada police station on November 2.
Vasava is one of the five AAP MLAs elected in 2022. He was also appointed by the AAP as its legislative party leader in the Gujarat assembly.