Kirit Somaiya stopped on way to Kolhapur; Sena, BJP indulge in war of words
PUNE Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on Monday claimed he was stopped and detained by police at Karad in western Maharashtra while he was on his way to Kolhapur, after district authorities cited law and order as well as security concerns following his allegations of corruption against Hasan Mushrif, the Rural Development Minister of Maharashtra.
His detention preceded high drama in Mumbai where Somaiya was asked by police not to venture out of his residence citing Kolhapur administration’s order.
After being stopped at Karad, Somaiya alleged that he was jostled by the Mumbai police, who on Sunday night to tried to prevent him boarding the Kolhapur-bound Mahalaxmi express.
Somaiya planned to visit Kagal in Kolhapur, the Assembly constituency represented by Mushrif, and to file a police complaint against the minister over alleged irregularities committed by him.
The ruling Shiv Sena termed Somaiya’s allegations as “theatrics”, while blaming the BJP of trying destablising the Maharashtra government.
Former chief minister and leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis reacted to the episode saying action against Somaiya is “unprecedented”.
“For the first time in independent India history, a person who was on his way to file a police complaint, has been detained,” Fadnavis told reporters in Goa, a state he has been made in-charge of, ahead of assembly elections there.
In Pune, state chief Chandrakant Patil claimed that there was misuse of power and accused state ministers of indulging in corruption.
A few days ago, Somaiya had accused Mushrif of indulging in corruption and holding ‘’benami’’ entities in the name of his kin, allegations dismissed as baseless by the latter.
Somaiya, who boarded the Mahalaxmi Express in Mumbai on Sunday night to go to Kolhapur, in a tweet on Monday morning said, “Police stopped me at Karad under prohibitory order”.
According to Kolhapur superintendent of police Shailesh Balkawde, a team of district police reached Karad. Somaiya was stopped at Karad railway station and served a copy of the (prohibitory) order.
“After we told him that he was prohibited from entering the district, he cooperated and will return after addressing a press conference in Karad,” Balkawade said.
Somaiya on Sunday displayed an order from Kolhapur Collector Rahul Rekhawar that said the former had been prohibited from entering the district under section 144 of the IPC “in view of the threat to his life and possibility of law and order situation due to his visit”.
The order also said the police would be occupied with Ganpati immersions and it would not be possible to provide security to Somaiya.
Senior inspector Sunil Kamble of Navghar police station in Mumbai had also issued a notice to Somaiya, asking him to follow the Kolhapur administration order. Somaiya’s residence at Mulund in Mumbai falls within the jurisdiction of Navghar police station.
Somaiya termed the development “dadagiri” of the Uddhav Thackeray government. He also accused the Mumbai police of forgery, saying they had handed him an order by the Kolhapur district administration stating that he should not be allowed to leave Mumbai.
“When I was given a copy of the order by Kolhapur police today (Monday) morning at Karad, there was no mention that I should not be allowed to go out of Mumbai,” he said.
Somaiya said he would move court against his “illegal detention” and the order issued in Mumbai.
He said the Kolhapur district administration’s order talks about a threat perception to him if he goes there.
“Is it that since I registered a complaint against Mushrif, there was a plan to attack me?” he alleged.