Varun Gandhi gets two-week parole to fight election (Lead)

New Delhi, April 16 (Inditop) The Supreme Court Thursday ordered “forthwith release” of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi for two weeks to enable him to file his nomination for Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency and campaign for the polls.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishanan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal ordered Gandhi’s release, pending a final decision on his lawsuit challenging his detention under the National Security Act (NSA) by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The bench ordered Gandhi’s temporary release, dismissing the Uttar Pradesh government’s stiff opposition.

This will enable him to file his nomination by the deadline of April 24.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party welcomes the Supreme Court decision. Varun Gandhi is an active party worker. He will campaign for the party,” BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj told reporters here.

“Where all he will go and for whom he will campaign will depend on Varun’s comfort and demand from candidates to campaign for them – there are a lot of people who want him to campaign for them,” he added.

The court said Gandhi would be released Thursday after submitting an affidavit to Etah jail authorities, swearing that he will not make provocative speeches during the poll campaign. He would be filing a similar affidavit later to the Supreme Court by Monday.

Authorities of the Etah Jail, where Gandhi has been lodged since April 1, said they were waiting to receive the court order to release him.

“I think the court order will come through fax to Etah district magistrate and hence will be passed on to me. We are waiting for the court orders,” V.R. Sharma, Etah jail superintendent, told a TV channel.

“The apex court decision will be followed word by word the moment we receive the order and Varun Gandhi will be released within 10 minutes,” he added.

The Gandhi scion had been arrested after a series of campaign speeches vilifying Muslims, the tapes of which he said had been doctored. His lawsuit challenging invocation of the NSA against him will come up for hearing May 1.

“We believe when the Uttar Pradesh government’s decided to slap the National Security Act, it was acting under vendetta. They grossly misused the act. We didn’t trust them then and we don’t now,” Punj said.

“Justice has been done partially at least,” he concluded, adding that “everything would become clear in the hearing”.