Trinamool Congress leader Saket Gokhale, in Gujarat Police custody, said it is "an irony" that he's been arrested for a tweet on the PM's visit to Morbi after a bridge collapse, while "the Oreva owner is free". Oreva Group had the contract to renovate the bridge which collapsed, resulting in over 130 deaths.
"This just shows the priority of the establishment here," he told reporters when he was being taken from the cyber-crime police station to a local court. The court later sent him to two days of police custody.
Mr Gokhale, detained last night from Jaipur, had tweeted images of what looked like newspaper clippings saying "RTI revealed the PM's visit to Morbi cost Rs 30 crore", on December 1. This was flagged as "fake" by the government's fact-check unit the same day.
BJP leader Amit Kothari filed the police complaint in Ahmedabad that led to the arrest, sources said.
Gujarat Police confirmed having taken him only after Derek O'Brien, Rajya Sabha leader of Bengal's ruling Trinamool, tweeted and called it "political vendetta" by the BJP. He said Mr Gokhale had taken a Monday night flight from New Delhi to Jaipur, from where he was "picked up" by Gujarat Police.
Derek O'Brien later reached Ahmedabad to assist in Saket Gokhale's defence, as did Mr Gokhale's mother.
Trinamool head and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Saket Gokhale had only tweeted what he thought were news reports. "This is a vindictive attitude. I condemn it," she said, speaking to reporters during a visit to Ajmer.
At the centre of the controversy is the tragedy in Gujarat's Morbi town, where a probe has pointed towards failure of the municipal authorities as the renovation contractor allegedly did not follow the norms in renovating and reopening the colonial-era suspension bridge.
PM Modi had visited the town in his home state on November 1, and met those injured, besides going to the tragedy site.