The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to Congress leader Hardik Patel in connection with his involvement in the 2015 Patidar Andolan agitation, pulling up the Gujarat police for the delay in the investigation.
The bench headed by Justice U. U. Lalit issued notice to the state government, requiring that the court be informed of the status of the probe, and listed the matter for March 6, according Patel interim protection from arrest until then.
"Police stations, vehicles, properties were set on fire then (during the 2015 unrest)! He (Patel) was the main person behind all this!", SG Tushar Mehta sought to counter the grant of bail.
"Has there been a requisition for investigation so far?", inquired the bench from Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, for Patel.
On receiving a reply in the negative, the bench reprimanded, "The FIRs were registered 5 years ago and there have been hardly any interrogations since then!"
"But he (Patel) has anyway not been arrested since 2015! He has been alright even without any such relief!", the SG sought to object.
"That is all the more reason to give him protection! You did not act for 5 long years...there is no harm in waiting for 7 more days!", rebuked the bench.