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Court releases Nakkheeran Gopal, rejects police request to remand him

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Metropolitant Magistrate Gopinath ordered the release of senior Tamil journalist Gopal, 59, Editor of Nakkheeran when he was produced in Court by the Tamil Nadu Police. Court refused a request by the Police to remand him.

Earlier Gopal was taken into custody at Chennai airport while waiting to fly to Pune on a complaint from Raj Bhavan. He was charged under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to assault on President or Governor to restrain them from exercising their lawful power.

The allegation against him was that he published an offending article in "Nakkheeran" in May that linked the Governor to Nirmala Devi, an Assistant Professor who was arrested for allegedly luring college girls to provide sexual favours to officials of Madurai Kamaraj University.

Defence Counsel V.T. Perumal argued that Section 124 cannot be applied as the police could not prove that the Governor and Gopal had ever met and so there could not have been any "assault" -- as defined in the Penal Code.

Meanwhile, Senior journalist N. Ram of The Hindu Group submitted that there was no relation to Secton 124 and the case in question. If such an arrest was allowed, it would set a dangerous precedent and police all over India would resort to this. No journalist had been arrested under this section.

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