After the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alleged that the police were going soft on Riyaz Bhati, a builder and alleged aide of gangster Dawood Ibrahim, due to his links with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bigwigs, BJP city chief Ashish Shelar asked Mumbai Police commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar to look into the allegations against Bhati. The Mumbai Police then forwarded the matter to crime branch asking it scrutinise the case, under which Bhati is accused of having two passports with different names.
A war of words is on between both the parties over Bhati, who was arrested by the police in October 2015 at Mumbai airport while he was on his way to Johannesburg. The NCP also alleged BJP had made Bhati an office bearer in their Mumbai wing. Shelar refuted the allegations saying he doesn’t have any links with Bhati.
The NCP on Friday questioned why the police went soft on him. “Who had ordered to provide police protection to Bhati in December 2014? Why he (Bhati) was not charged with the stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act)? Moreover, how did he manage to secure bail in just 15 days despite getting arrested on a serious charge? The ruling party needs to come clean on this,” said NCP spokesman Nawab Malik.
Malik added that Shelar was patronising Bhati and even got him back as member of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). “When MCA president Sharad Pawar initiated action for terminating his membership, it was Shelar who ensured that he (Bhati) should not be removed on the ground that charges against him are yet to be proved,” Malik claimed. He even alleged that Bhati had helped Shelar in assembly elections .
Shelar, on Twitter, refuted the allegations saying that Bhati was not a member of any executive committee of the party. “BJP has no relation with Bhati. He was not a member in the previous executive committee. New committee is yet to be declared. Malik is making false allegations,” Shelar said in one on his several tweets.
He added that Malik may have taken help from criminals in past polls and is remembering the same. “Malik needs some medical attention as he must be suffering with some mental disorder,” Shelar tweeted. In another tweet, he said he will file defamation case against Malik. “I have requested Mumbai police commissioner to investigate Bhati case,” the BJP city chief tweeted.
Later in the evening, Mumbai police issued a statement saying they have received an application from Shelar to probe Bhati’s case. “The same application was submitted to the Mumbai crime branch for further enquiry,” said DCP Ashok Dudhe, also a spokesperson of Mumbai police. Meanwhile, police filed a charge sheet in the fake passport case at Andheri Metropolitan court on Friday. Babu Mukhedkar, senior inspector, Sahar police station confirmed it.