One arrested, 13 booked for announcing Rs 51k reward to throw ink at Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil

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Pune Rural police have arrested one person and booked 13 others after it emerged that a reward of Rs 51,000 was allegedly announced in Baramati for the person who blackens the face of Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil, just hours before ink was thrown at him in Chinchwad on Saturday.

The suspects, who are affiliated to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), also put up social media posts congratulating the man who threw ink at Patil, according to the police.

At 5.50 pm on Saturday, senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil was stepping out of the house of former BJP corporator Moreshwar Shedge in Chinchwad when ink was thrown at him.

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Police have arrested three people in connection with the attack and have identified them as members of Samata Sainik Dal, an organisation founded by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1924 and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), a political party founded by Prakash Ambedkar four years ago. The attack on Patil came a day after his controversial statement on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.

According to the case registered at Baramati city police station, a few hours before the attack on Patil, a rally was held around 12 noon on Saturday in Baramati by a group affiliated to the NCP led by Rushikesh Gaikwad, the director of a sugar mill in Baramati. During the rally, Gaikwad, who is in his late 20s, allegedly announced that whoever throws ink on Chandrakant Patil first will get a reward of Rs 51,000. After the ink attack on Patil, the group members put up a social media post announcing that they will felicitate Manoj Gharbade who allegedly threw ink at Patil.

“An offence has been registered against 14 persons at Baramati city police station and we have arrested one person identified as Rushikesh Gaikwad.” said Ganesh Ingale, deputy superintendent of police (Baramati). The police have invoked IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 109 (punishment for abetment), 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) against the accused.

In connection with the actual attack, Pimpri-Chinchwad police have arrested Manoj Bhaskar Gharbade, 34, an organising member of Samata Sainik Dal, Dhananjay Bhausaheb Ijgaj, 29, a member of Samata Sainik Dal, and Vijay Dharma Ovhal, 40, secretary of VBA. They have been booked under IPC sections pertaining to attempted murder, among others.

Speaking at an event in Aurangabad’s Paithan, Patil said on Friday, “Who started establishing schools in the county? Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil did, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar did, Mahatma Jyotiro Phule did. So when all these people started schools, the government did not give them grants. They went to people and begged for money saying – we are starting schools, give us money! There were people who donated money to tune Rs 10 at the time. These days there are people who donate to the tune of Rs 10 crore… For example, there are CSR funds.”

After his words were seen as an insult to these leaders, Patil clarified to the media, “If people are saying I should have used words like vargani (contributory donation) or CSR, those words were not in use at the time. What people used to say at the time was – mi bheek magitli (I begged people for money) and built my institution. The word is used in that context. In spite of that, if people have been offended by the use of the word bheek (to beg), then I want to apologise. I have nothing but utmost respect for these social reformers.”



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