Hyderabad: Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, who returned to Hyderabad from London early Monday, has moved Andhra Pradesh high court seeking quashing of the cases against him in various police stations over his alleged hate speeches.
Hours after seeking four days' time to appear before police in Nirmal town of Adilabad district, Owaisi filed a petition in the high court, seeking orders to strike down cases booked against him at the direction of lower courts.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing in two days.
Earlier, Adilabad police confirmed that 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 the doctors' report.
Top police officials said they were looking into the authenticity of the doctors' report and, if necessary, would depute government doctors to examine the legislator.
Nirmal police had directed Owaisi to be at the police station by 10.45am, but his lawyers informed them that the MIM leader was not well. He sought four days' time for Owaisi to join the police for recording his statement over the alleged speech.
According to MIM sources, if the police reject his request, Owaisi may surrender in a court in Hyderabad rather than travel to Nirmal, about 200km from here.
He is not likely to visit Nirmal since he is unwell and also because the situation in the town is tense following protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its frontal organizations. They have called for a shutdown in Nirmal on Monday.
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.
In Hyderabad, a team of doctors from the Owaisi Hospital examined Owaisi at his residence in the posh Banjara Hills.
The MIM sources said that Owaisi, who had gone to London for treatment, cut short his visit and returned in view of the notices served on him by police.
Owaisi arrived at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here around 3am to a warm welcome by MIM leaders and hundreds of supporters. He later drove to his house.
As the MIM leader faces arrest and the BJP and its frontal organisations continue their protests, police stepped up security in Nirmal town and also in the old city of Hyderabad. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons were imposed in Nirmal.
BJP 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.
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 Owaisi under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC, also have directed him to appear before them January 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 January 10.
BJP's senior leader Ch Vidyasagar alleged that the government had failed to arrest Owaisi. He demanded that he be disqualified as member of state assembly and his elder brother Asaduddin Owaisi as member of Parliament.
In another development, the ethics committee of the state assembly at its meeting Monday decided to recommend to the assembly speaker to take action against Owaisi 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 Akbar is back in Hyderabad, he would appear before the appropriate authority. "We will face the case legally and we are not going to run away," he told a meeting at MIM headquarters.
Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that the ruling Congress and BJP had joined hands to target Akbar Owaisi and MIM.