Criticising the Pune police who tapped the phones of two senior Shiv Sena leaders – executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s personal secretary Milind Narvekar and party spokesperson Neelam Gorhe, BJP leaders said they would soon take up the matter with governor K Sankaranarayanan.
On Thursday, Narvekar and Gorhe — accused by the Pune police of inciting riots, were granted bail by a Pune court. The police had booked Narvekar and Gorhe after recording their telephonic conversation a day before the party organised a bandh on December 28.
Judicial magistrate first class, RL Wankhede, released both Narvekar and Gorhe on a personal bond of Rs. 15,000 soon after they were remanded in judicial custody till January 12.
While the NCP-Congress have demanding stern action against the leaders, the opposition BJP has accused the government of misusing its powers to settle political scores.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, however, sought to justify the tapping. “It has been done within legal provisions,” he said on Thursday.
The special branch of the Pune police had kept the phones of Gorhe and other Sena leaders under surveillance soon after the bandh call on Monday. On the basis of the tapped conversation, which allegedly has Narvekar instructing Gorhe to incite violence in Pune, the police booked the two for inciting violence, rioting and criminal conspiracy.
According to the FIR, in the call, made around 11.56pm on Monday, Narvekar appeared to be instructing Gorhe to damage buses, set trucks on fire and block the Mumbai-Pune highway.
The Sena and BJP had called a Pune bandh to protest the removal of the statue of Dadoji Konddev from Lal Mahal. During the bandh, at least 50 public buses were damaged. The police arrested 375 activists. On Wednesday, Narvekar and Gorhe were booked for inciting violence. For the first time in the state political leaders have been booked on the basis of tapped telephonic conversations.
After getting bail, Gorhe said, “We have already put the truth before the people. We will now make our case before the judiciary.” Narvekar chose not to comment.