Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil says Kirit Somaiya’s visit to police station ‘unwarranted’

‘BJP has been trying to topple MVA ever since its formation in 2019’, says Walse-Patil 

Updated - April 24, 2022 03:17 pm IST

Published - April 24, 2022 02:12 pm IST - Pune

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil.

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil. | Photo Credit: PTI

Firmly standing by the actions of the Mumbai police, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil on Sunday admonished Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya by stating that he had no business to visit arrested husband-wife duo of MLA Ravi Rana and MP Navneet Rana at Mumbai’s Khar police station knowing fully well that it would stoke further discontent.

Slamming the BJP at the Centre and the State, Mr. Walse-Patil further alleged that ever since the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government (of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress) had come to power in Maharashtra, the BJP had been persistently attempting to topple it.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Mr. Walse-Patil was responding to Mr. Somaiya’s allegations that the alleged assault by Shiv Sainiks was “sponsored by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in conjunction with the Mumbai police”.

“There was no need for Kirit Somaiya to go to the [Khar] police station [where the Rana husband-wife duo were kept]. Because when a person is in custody, only lawyers and relatives have permission to meet that person. As per law, others don’t have permission. So, he should not have gone there to add fuel to fire,” he said, while conceding that whatever happened (assault on Mr. Somaiya) was not good.

Backing the Mumbai police’s actions against Badnera MLA Ravi Rana and Amravati MP Navneet Rana, who were arrested after they had threatened to play the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Mr. Thackeray’s official residence ‘Matoshree’, Mr. Walse-Patil alleged that a bigger hand was behind the duo’s actions.

“They [Navneet and Ravi Rana] cannot have this kind of daring unless someone is behind their actions…There is a deliberate attempt to create instability in the State, but I am fully confident that the police will be able to keep the situation under control. Based on the information they had, police took the requisite steps [in arresting the Ranas]. There was nothing wrong about their actions,” said Mr. Walse-Patil, a senior NCP leader.

The Home Minister, who, along with other MVA leaders, has accused the BJP of trying to create a situation in order to impose President’s Rule in Maharashtra, said that it had been the BJP’s constant effort since the MVA’s inception to ensure that the tripartite government did not remain in place under any situation.

“These actions [the Ranas provocations, Mr. Somaiya’s incident] are part of that scheme,” he said.

While remarking that police would take action against miscreants involved in Mr. Somaiya’s alleged attack, the Home Minister nonetheless questioned the BJP-ruled Centre’s rationale for providing ‘Z security’ cover to Mr. Somaiya.

In a sarcastic jibe at the BJP over Mr. Somaiya’s assault, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut – Mr. Somaiya’s bete noire – claimed that the reason for the assault was that the INS Vikrant scam (in which Mr. Raut had named Mr. Somaiya and his son) had “disturbed people” who were venting their spleen on the BJP leader.

“Money was collected from people in the name of ‘Save INS Vikrant’. The people and the nation were misled. So, the BJP should not be pained if people take to the streets to express their anger against such a person and throw a few stones…especially, since the BJP has always had this same stance on how to deal with criminals,” said Mr. Raut, adding that the public would not forgive “traitors and criminals.”

Mocking Mr. Somaiya’s ‘Z plus security’, Mr. Raut said that the provision of security covers by the BJP-led Central government was itself a scam.

“Anyone who speaks against West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee or Uddhav Thackeray is given ‘Y plus’ or ‘Z plus’ security covers. This has become a joke now,” Mr. Raut said, adding that if Mr. Somaiya “spoke too much”, he would gag him.

Mr. Somaiya stirred another controversy late on Saturday after he claimed he was assaulted by Shiv Sena workers while accusing the Mumbai police of kowtowing to the MVA government.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the Mumbai BJP office on Sunday, Mr. Somaiya charged the Uddhav Thackeray government and Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey with being ‘in cahoots’ regarding the assault by nearly 80 Shiv Sainiks.

“Despite the fact that the police had cleared my visit to the Khar police station, 70-80 Sainiks were already lying in wait to assault me. Mumbai CP Sanjay Pandey is fully responsible for this. The FIR, which was registered in my name, is bogus as it claims that the Shiv Sainiks were standing three km away and only a couple of stones were hurled from afar…what is more, the Deputy Commissioner of Police is threatening me that if I did not sign it, the investigation would be conducted based on the FIR,” alleged Mr. Somaiya.

Stating that he had already spoken with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, who in turn had intimated Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Mr. Somaiya said that a BJP delegation would go to Delhi on Monday to meet with Mr. Bhalla over the assault.

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