The Maharashtra government induced Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader N. Chandrababu Naidu and his colleagues to leave the state by claiming to withdraw all cases slapped against them. It now appears only minor cases were withdrawn.
Although Naidu and company finally left - reluctantly and amid a lot of drama - for Hyderabad in a special aircraft from Aurangabad, around 450 km from here, the drama will continue to haunt them for long.
While the state government kept its promise and withdrew minor cases pertaining to violation of prohibitory orders, the other criminal cases, including one pertaining to attacks on Maharashtra policemen, are still pending, a top district official said.
According to Nanded collector Ajay Ghulane, the district authorities promptly complied with the state government's directives and withdrew the cases pertaining to violation of prohibitory orders against Naidu and 65 others.
"These cases were registered by the police after they (Naidu and company) entered the state July 16 despite prohibitory orders enforced in Dharmabad and other areas," Ghulane told the news agency.
According to head of Dharmabad Police Station S.S. Munde, on July 20, when police officials went to the Dharmabad Industrial Training Institute to convince the TDP activists to leave for Aurangabad Central Jail in Harsul, they refused.
The policemen informed them that in line with their demand, the government had provided an air-conditioned private bus to enable them travel comfortably to Aurangabad.
Ostensibly playing to the gallery, Naidu refused to go anywhere without first visiting the site of the controversial Babhali dam on Godavari river, around eight kilometers upstream.
When the policemen persisted, Naidu became angry and aggressive, while his supporters started shouting and abusing them, the official said.
Even as the policemen looked on, Naidu's supporters started pushing them around, hitting, punching, kicking and banging their heads against the building walls.
A total of 10 policemen were injured in the melee that ensued before the security finally forcibly rounded them up and packed them off in the buses to Aurangabad.
According to Munde, the criminal cases have been registered against Naidu and around 30 of his supporters, including some legislators.
The first information reports have been already registered under Indian Penal Code Sections 353, 323, 324, 506, 504 and 123 for various offences.
"As and when the cases come up, the police shall issue the summons asking the accused to appear for the hearings in Dharmabad. In case they fail to appear, appropriate legal proceedings shall be initiated against them," Ghulane said.
Munde said that investigations were underway into these cases and the necessary legal steps would be taken in consultation with the government.
Naidu, accompanied by nearly 90 supporters, had crossed the Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh border near Dharmabad town in Nanded district July 16 in a bus to inspect the Babhali Barrage site and ascertain whether Maharashtra was grabbing more than its share of water from Godavari river.
But the Maharashtra government clamped prohibitory orders and arrested Naidu and 65 TDP activists.
They were not allowed to proceed to the Babhali Barrage even as the matter assumed political overtones with all parties in the state condemning the TDP agitation.
On July 20, apprehending a law and order issue, the state government said it had withdrawn the cases against Naidu and his supporters.
It arranged for a chartered Indian Airlines aircraft and bundled off the TDP members including Naidu back to Hyderabad.
As it now turns out, the Maharashtra government had only withdrawn the minor cases pertaining to violating of the prohibitory orders. The other criminal cases are still alive.