It could not have come at a worse time.
The arrest of Nationalist Congress Party Member of Parliament Padamsinh Patil (69) in the Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case has come at a time when the party is already troubled.
After its poor showing in the general elections, Patil’s arrest has given opponents a stick to beat the NCP just before the assembly elections.
Patil, a close confidant of party chief Sharad Pawar, took oath as Member of Parliament six days ago. The effect of the incident will give the party reason to worry. Under fire from opponents, NCP and its coalition partner, Congress, were guarded in their statement about the incident.
“Investigation is on. He has been taken for interrogation. It is not as if a chargesheet is filed…” said NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan stuck to the “law will take its own course”, statement.
“Investigations into the incident are on. People should not target the party for this incident,” said State Home minister Jayant Patil.
Opposition parties were quick to nail the NCP.
“A large number of criminals have been given membership by the NCP,” said Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Gopinath Munde. “Earlier, we thought political murders were restricted to UP or Bihar, but the party seems to have brought this phenomenon to the state too.”
Other opponents are accusing the NCP of subverting the independence of investigating agencies. The NCP presently holds the Home portfolio.
“Had the high court not ordered a CBI inquiry, the NCP [would have] managed to use its clout to allow [the] perpetrators to go scot-free,” said senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde.
The Shiv Sena ridiculed the local police force for poor investigation.
“It is good that the culprits have been apprehended by the CBI,” said Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut. “However, the case was earlier with the Maharashtra Police. What were they doing? Why was the case not investigated properly earlier?”