Raj Thackeray granted bail

Hours after being arrested, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 15,000 on Wednesday.

He was arrested from his central Mumbai residence and was taken in a police van to Vikhroli court in suburban Mumbai, where he was produced.

A case against him had been registered in Vikhroli police station after he made inflammatory remarks against North Indians that led to incidents of violence.

Following Thackeray's arrest, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said, ''Police have taken the correct step by arresting Raj Thackeray.''

Adding to Deshmukh's statement, Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil said Raj Thackeray's arrest was an implication that Maharashtra government would not let anyone take law into his own hands.

Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi was also arrested from his residence in South Mumbai on charges of inciting violence and promoting enmity between groups. But an hour later he was granted bail.

Azmi was produced before Mumbai's Bhoiwada Court and was released on bail against a surety of Rs 10,000.

Security has been beefed up around the Vikhroli court. Raj Thackeray's lawyers had asked for an appointment to argue for bail.

Eight MNS workers have also been arrested in Vikhroli. Earlier in the day, MNS State Secretary Vasant Geete was also taken into custody in Nagpur.

Meanwhile, police made around 1800 preventive detentions in various parts of the state to prevent any untoward incident in the aftermath of the arrests of Thackeray and Azmi, Director General of police PS Pasricha said. (With PTI inputs)

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