In one of the most brazen crimes in recent times, a ruling Bharatiya Janata MLA from Kalyan town shot and critically injured a Shiv Sena city leader inside Ulhasnagar’s Hill Lines Police Station, in the home district of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
The incident occurred around 9.40 p.m. on Friday night in the chamber of Senior Police Inspector Anil Jagtap, when the BJP MLA Ganpat Kalu Gaikwad suddenly got up and started firing indiscriminately at Shiv Sena Kalyan President Mahesh Gaekwad and his associates Rahul Patil and Chainu Jadhav sitting opposite him.
The terrifying drama was captured on the CCTV footage in the cabin showing MLA Ganpat Gaikwad suddenly getting up, taking a couple of steps behind and firing wildly at Mahesh Gaekwad, Patil and Jadhav sprang up and started running toward the door.
As they opened the door, Mahesh Gaekwad fell behind the door and Ganpat Gaikwad fired again, pulled him and started assaulting with the butt of the licensed revolver.
Hearing the gunshots, Senior PI Jagtap -- who had stepped outside briefly to control the crowds from both parties indulging in a fracas -- rushed inside along with some activists from both sides.
Jagtap and two others managed to overpower Ganpat Gaikwad, hit him on the hand and released the revolver while some other unknown persons can be seen catching and hammering Mahesh Gaekwad, Patil and Jadhav -- with the police head’s cabin resembling a firing-zone.
A profusely bleeding Mahesh Gaekwad and Patil were rushed to a nearby Mira Hospital for first aid, and then to the Jupiter Hospital in Thane where Gaekwad underwent emergency surgery for six hours till this morning when six bullets were extricated from him.
His condition is described as very critical and he is on a ventilator, even as Chief Minister Shinde, his son and Kalyan MP Dr. Shrikant E. Shinde and other party leaders visited Gaekwad at the hospital.
Based on a complaint lodged by Jadhav later, the Ulhasnagar Police arrested Ganpat Gaikwad, his son Vaibhav G. Gaikwad, Harshal Nana Kene, Sandeep Anand Sarvankar, Nagesh Badekar, Vicky Ganotra and others.
The lawmaker along with two others has been nabbed and shall be produced before a court this afternoon.
Additional Commissioner of Police Dattatreya Shinde said the firing was the outcome of a purported land dispute between Gaikwad and Gaekwad.
“The MLA Gaikwad has been lodged in the Kalwa Police Station lockup and will be produced before the court through video-conference,” said Addl.CP Shinde.
As he was being taken away by the police, Ganpat Gaikwad claimed that he fired in self-defence as his son was reportedly being beaten up at the police station.
He alleged that if CM Shinde continues, then there will be a ‘state of criminals’, even as the issue snowballed into a major political controversy in the state.
The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi top leaders like Nana Patole, Vijay Wadettiwar (Congress), Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule, Dr. Jitendra Awhad (NCP-SP), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena-UBT), and other slammed the 'Mahayuti' government and demanded resignation of Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis who also holds the Home portfolio.
Under fire from all quarters, Fadnavis immediately ordered a SIT probe headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Nilesh Sonawane.
Meanwhile, as activists from BJP and Shiv Sena became restive, the Thane Police deployed tight security around the Hill Lines Police Station and other important locations in the district.
(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)