Four activists said to belong to Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) were arrested in Mumbai on Saturday on charges of gang raping a minor girl working as a maid servant, police said.
The four -- Ganesh Gatkar, Ganesh Kale, Narendra Salunkhe and Umesh Borade -- were produced before a magistrate in Andheri court this afternoon and remanded to police custody till July 28, according to senior police inspector of MIDC police station Pradeep Suryawanshi.
He said that the incident occurred last Sunday around 2 pm, when the accused kidnapped the girl while she was going home.
They took her to a municipal garden in the neighbourhood and allegedly raped her in the cabin of the security guards there.
The injured victim was allowed to go but not before she was threatened with dire consequences if she opened her mouth.
Suryawanshi said that the victim finally took courage on Friday and revealed the incident to her mother, who also works as a maid in the same locality. She brought her daughter to the police station and a complaint was lodged following which the accused were rounded up.
The incident comes barely one month after Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested for allegedly raping his domestic help in Andheri West.
Reacting to the incident, MNS vice-president V Saraswat claimed that this was a conspiracy to defame the party and it could be a case of mistaken identity of two persons bearing similar names.
"However, we are inquiring if they were indeed our party workers. If found to be true, we shall take strict action against them, there is no place for such persons in the MNS," he told IANS.
MIDC, or Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, is a predominantly industrial locality in north-west Mumbai's Andheri suburb.
Several residential complexes have mushroomed there, especially after the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road -- a critical link between the eastern and western suburbs -- opened a couple of years ago.
A group of MNS workers gathered outside the police station and some blurred out the names of the suspects from a party hoarding nearby.
However, the workers did not create any obstacles in police work, Suryawanshi said.