A team of police officers visited the residence of MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi Monday night, hours after he sought four days' time to personally appear for questioning in connection with the case booked against him over his alleged hate speeches.
Owaisi, who is leader of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly, has also moved the high court, seeking orders to restrain police from arresting him and also to quash cases booked against him in various police stations over his alleged hate speeches.
Tension prevailed at the leader's house in the posh Banjara Hills neighbourhood as a large number of his supporters gathered outside, raising slogans in his favour. Some of the protestors were holding placards. "Why all rules for Akbar Owaisi not for Narendra Modi or Praveen Togadia," read one such placard.
Two police officers from Nirmal town of Adilabad district left the house after 45 minutes. They believed to have recorded his statement and also checked the medical records as Owaisi, who returned from London early Monday, cited ill-health for not going to Nirmal, about 200 km from here. He had directed him to appear before Nirmal police station Monday morning.
It was not clear if police would arrest him or wait for four days to visit police station.
In his petition in the high court, Owaisi also sought directions to police to stop registering cases. He argued that cases can't be registered in many police stations over his one or two speeches, and alleged that a section of media telecast only part of his speech and the police booked cases due to pressure from media.
He also claimed that his political rivals were filing series of complaints. The petition will come up for hearing on Jan 9.
Earlier, the MIM leader through his lawyers sought more time on the ground of ill-health. Two lawyers, who reached Nirmal police station on behalf of Owaisi, submitted doctors' report.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its frontal organizations continued their protests against Owaisi in various parts of the state. A shutdown was observed in Nirmal, where prohibitory orders were imposed.
BJP workers took out a rally in Nirmal and tried to lay siege to the police station where Owaisi's lawyer was meeting the police officials. Police have arrested some protestors.
BJP also staged protests at various places in Hyderabad, Adilabad, Nizamabad and other districts, demanding immediate arrest of the legislator. The protestors set afire the effigy of the MIM leader.
Owaisi arrived at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here around 3 a.m. to a warm welcome by MIM leaders and hundreds of supporters. He later drove to his house.
Police in Nirmal last week booked the 42-year-old MIM leader under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 121 (waging or attempting to wage war against the state), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and Section 295A (for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
The Nizamabad police, who too booked him under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC, also have directed him to appear before them Jan 8 for questioning over a speech he made in the town.
The Osmania University police in Hyderabad also have slapped a case against him at the directions of a city court, and summoned the legislator Jan 10.
In another development, the ethics committee of the state assembly at its meeting Monday decided to recommend to assembly speaker to take action against Akbar for his provocative speeches. The ethics committee decided to take up the issue in the next session of the state assembly.
Meanwhile, MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said now that his brother is back in Hyderabad, he would appear before appropriate authority. "We will face the case legally and we are not going to run away," he told a meeting at MIM headquarters.
Asad Owaisi alleged that the ruling Congress and BJP had joined hands to target Akbar Owaisi and MIM.