Yashwant Gavand, 42, a Right to Information (RTI) activist who was allegedly beaten up by Shiv Sena Corporator Suresh Shinde and two others at Bhandup on Sunday, said he was attacked by Shinde two years ago as well.
Gavand alleged that he had been exposing Suresh’s illegal practices with the help of the RTI and had filed cases against him in the Bombay High Court.
Denying the charge, Shinde said: “On Sunday morning, Gavand passed a comment that my supporters didn’t like. They fought with Gavand, during which he fell. The police were present and saw what happened. Gavand filed the cases to extort money from me.”
The Bhandup police also said it was a comment made by Gavand that led to the fight. “Around 11 am, as Gavand passed by a bridge that Shinde was to inaugurate a few days later, he remarked that Shinde should not bother with the preparations as he would have lost his corporator’s seat by then. This led to a fight between Gavand and Shinde’s son,” said Vilas Shinde, senior police inspector at Bhandup police station.
Recalling the alleged assault in 2008, Gavand said: “Shinde hit me on the head with a rod. A man named Pramod More had challenged Shinde’s election, charging him with corruption. Shinde thought More had done so at my behest. I approached the Bhandup police, but they only registered a non-cognisable offence. Shinde warned me that if I did anything that would cost him his corporator’s seat, he would kill me.”
Gavand added: “On December 29, 2009, I wrote to the municipal commissioner, asking him to disqualify Shinde as he owned three illegal constructions in Bhandup. This included his house, to which he added a floor illegally. He also lied in an affidavit by stating that his house was 300 sq ft when it was actually 650 sq ft. When no action was taken, I approached the high court, which ordered the commissioner on December 15 to take action within three months.”
Gavand alleged that “on Sunday, Shinde would have been able to execute his threat had the police not been present at the spot”. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 7) Sanjay Shintre said: “We are investigating the matter.”