Comedian Kiku Sharda granted bail

The ace comedian Kiku Sharda was released on bail after he seeks apology to the lakhs followers of self-styled religious guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for mimicking him on the television show, ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’. Kiku was arrested by Haryana Police from Mumbai.

Post the arrest, Kiku seeks an apology to the followers with folded hands, "If I've hurt anyone's sentiments, I fold my hands and apologize to everyone”.

A spokesperson for the Dera Sacha Sauda, the sect headed by Mr Singh, said saying sorry wasn't mend the damage, "Anyone can commit a crime and then apologize," said the spokesperson.

On Wednesday, Kaithal chief judicial magistrate Nandita Kaushik sent him to 14 days judicial custody but he was released on a surety of Rs 1 lakh after his advocate moved a second bail application in the afternoon.

Immediately after he was released on bail, Fatehabad police took him into custody as there was a similar case filed against him in that police station as well.

Fatehabad SP O P Narwal said Kiku was finally released after the formalities completed late in the evening.

Sharda had mimicked godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim on ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’, the episode which on December 27, 2015. He apologized for the act the next day on his Twitter account.

On January 1, a Dera Sacha Sauda follower, Dalsher Singh, lodged a police complaint in Haryana against Sharda and seven of his co-actors.

The complaint claimed that Sharda's act showed the godman in poor light and hurt the sentiments of his followers.

"On the show, an actor dressed like Gurmeet Ram Rahim is shown drinking liquor, dancing with women and asking for donations. Dera Sacha Sauda is strictly against drinking or using any kind of intoxicants and no donations are demanded from anybody," Dalsher stated in the FIR.

Following the complaint, Kaithal police made inquiries about the show and its cast. "They tracked down Sharda's location to FilmCity and asked for our assistance in nabbing him as the set is located in our jurisdiction," said Vilas Chavan, senior inspector, Aarey Colony police.

Kiku was charged under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code. The other actors of the show was also booked in the same case and they include Gaurav Gera, Ali Asgar, Rajeev Thakur, Pooja Banerjee, Mouni Roy, Gautam Gulati and Sana Khan. "The other actors will appear before the Haryana court within a week's time," said lawyer Shreyansh Mithare, who represents Sharda.

Section 295A of IPC is punishable with a prison term up to three years or with a fine or both.

"Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure needs to be complied with. It provides for an accused to appear before the police for questioning. Arrest should be a later option only if the accused doesn't cooperate. In Sharda's case, there were no recoveries to be made either. Freedom of speech and expression shouldn't be undermined by legal high-handedness," said IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh.

"The requirement for Section 295A is deliberate and malicious intention. If Sharda is a comedian by profession and does this as a part of his vocation, it's unlikely that it was done with a deliberate and malicious intention to outrage feelings," said senior lawyer Amit Desai.

Meanwhile, Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim tweeted late on Wednesday that if Sharda has apologized, he had nothing to complain.