A political nautanki unfolds
The state government on Wednesday made out a strong statement in court that Raj Thackeray and his party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), are going the Shiv Sena way by dividing votes on regional basis, a formula adopted by Sena party chief by Balasaheb Thackeray.
Public prosecutor Ashok Bansode made this statement while seeking Raj’s custody for a day, after his arrest on charges of inciting violence and issuing hate statements against north Indians.
However, magistrate SJ Sharma observed that the “police has not made out a case which need custodial interrogation” and remanded Raj to judicial custody. He was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 15,000.
What was interesting and could upset Raj’s supporters was his statement on abetting violence. His lawyer Ashok Mundargi read out: “I (Thackeray) cannot be responsible for the acts committed by someone since I was not involved in the offence. If at all I give a speech and the person takes to the roads, there is no abetment on my part.”
Raj, who was arrested from his home at Shivaji Park on Wednesday, was rushed to Vikhroli court, 15 km away, in 20 minutes. Dressed in a white shirt, black trousers and a blue sweater, he stood through the two-hour court hearing. His wife Sharmila was seated on the bench behind him. Often Raj yawned, smiled and looked across the courtroom.
As Raj was leaving court after getting bail, the magistrate said: “Mr Thackeray, you are an educated person. Do ensure peace and tranquility in the city. I need not tell you anything more.” Leaving court, he jumped into his Land Cruiser. But party workers surrounded the vehicle, shouting slogans, with a musical band in tow. There was a minor lathi charge to disperse the crowd.
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