The local unit of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) contesting the municipal corporation elections on the issue of "Party's Clean Image" had to face embarrassment after one of the party worker and ticket aspirant Vidya Sharad Joshi (43) was arrested for allegedly demanding Rs 10 lakh from a builder as civic poll expenses.
Joshi, a resident of Bhusari colony in Kothrud was arrested on Wednesday along with one Chetankumar Jain (23) after city based builder Vishwanath Tapkir approached the Anti-Extortion Cell of Pune police, which laid a trap for the duo and nabbed them from Kothrud.
On Thursday, Joshi and Jain was produced before the local court where they were remanded to police custody for three days. Police said that the duo had gone to the builder's office and demanded Rs 10 lakh as expenses towards elections, which the builder — Vishwanath Tapkir — refused.
Acting quickly to avoid further embarrassment the MNS leaders sacked Joshi from the party. Party leader Deepak Paigude said that his party has no room for criminals and corrupt people and hence he has removed Joshi from the party.
A police team comprising inspector Bhanupratap Barge, sub-inspector Raghunath Phuge and others arrested the candidate, Joshi and Jain (23) of Ganesh Colony, Kothrud, after a trap was laid at an apartment in Kothrud.
Barge said that Tapkir received threatening calls, demanding Rs 20 lakh, from an unidentified caller a month back. But the calls later stopped.
Barge told HT that on last Sunday, Joshi visited Tapkir's office and told Tapkir that she was getting a poll ticket from a party. She also told Tapkir that she needed money to get the ticket and for campaigning. Tapkir refused to pay the money, but offered to help her, following which the duo left the office, said Barge.
Police while seeking the police custody of accused told court that they want to seize the SIM cards from the mobile phone of Joshi. Police said that the information in the SIM card will further help them investigate about how many call Joshi has made so far for extortion. The other accused in the case Jain is however not linked to any political party.
Meanwhile Joshi's lawyer Milind Pawar alleged of political conspiracy. Pawar said told court that builder tapkir too was connected to different political party was an aspirant to contest the polls for the same ward, from where Joshi hails.
According to barge, Joshi is involved in social activities in Kothurd area and her husband is banker.