How Deepak Mankar’s political ambitions came to a dead end
Known for his muscle power, crowd-gathering skills and voters mobilisation, Mankar was once a serious political player, described in political circles as the “right hand man” of Kalmadi. Every time, Mankar aspires to make it big in politics, he manages to grab the media attention for criminal cases against him.pune Updated: Aug 03, 2018 16:31 IST
Deepak Mankar, the then Congress leader hit the headlines around 12 years ago, when his supporters ransacked former member of Parliament Suresh Kalmadi’s car inside Congress Bhavan. Mankar, who wanted to be the chief of Congress city unit, was denied the post leaving his supporters angry.
Since then, Deepak Mankar has hogged the limelight several times, mostly for the wrong reasons. Every time, Mankar aspires to make it big in politics, he manages to grab the media attention for criminal cases against him.
One such case came up this week when Mankar was arrested under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) after he surrendered before police after the Supreme Court rejected his plea for anticipatory bail. He was initially booked for abetment to suicide of a city-based land dealer in June.
Known for his muscle power, crowd-gathering skills and voters mobilisation, Mankar was once a serious political player, described in political circles as the “right hand man” of Kalmadi. His ambitions, however, faced major hurdles along the way, according to acquaintances who have known him for years.
In 2009, Mankar had declared 12 criminal cases against him when he unsuccessfully contested Assembly polls from Kothurd. In 2014 Assembly polls, while contesting from Kasba peth, Mankar mentioned only three criminal cases against him in his affidavit.
He started his political carrier as a Congress party worker in Narayan peth, Mankar switched sides multiple times. Currently serving as corporator from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Mankar, who also served as deputy mayor during 2012-14, was in the race to become the party’s city unit chief. The latest case of suicide of a realtor crushed his hopes.
“While there are cases against him, he has been acquitted in some of them. In the present case, it is difficult for anyone to understand why police have slapped MCOCA against him,” said Ankush Kakade, spokesperson of NCP.
Besides politics, Mankar mainly deals in land-related transactions, said another close acquaintance. Always surrounded by at least 20 to 30 youths, Mankar is seen as a strong man in politics.
“He may have been active in land dealings, but he is not a criminal as is being projected,” said Congress corporator Abhay Chhajed.
This is the fourth time Mankar has been sent behind bars in the last few years. Earlier, the Pune crime branch had arrested Mankar in 2009 for allegedly trying to grab land. Later, he was acquitted in the case.
His close aids say every time Mankar aspired for key posts, he was being implicated in criminal cases.
Deepak Mankar has declared Rs 70.85 crore property in the asset declaration form while contesting to the Assembly election in 2014 and his maximum property is in land.
In 2009, Mankar declared assets worth Rs 13.39 crore. In the same year, he declared 12 criminal cases against him, but in 2014, there were only three.
Mankar helps several Ganesh mandals in the city. Following his surrender, Ganesh mandal workers are worried about getting donations for their mandals.
First Published: Aug 03, 2018 16:27 IST