Minutes after he left Aam Aadmi Party leader Preeti Sharma-Menon’s house in Chembur, whom he had reportedly approached for legal assistance, a 24-year-old creative producer employed with a media house was arrested Tuesday for allegedly lying about being harassed by an autorickshaw driver in Andheri West in August for carrying a leather bag. Andheri resident Barun Kashyap was Saturday booked for giving false information to the police and promoting enmity between communities, police said. He will be produced at a Andheri Court Wednesday.
The incident had allegedly taken place near Infiniti Mall in Andheri West on August 20 when Kashyap was travelling to his office in an autorickshaw. In his complaint to the Amboli police station, he had claimed that the autorickshaw driver objected to him carrying a leather bag and drove him to another location, where two other men intimidated him before allowing him to leave. “A special team had been formed and a sketch of the auto driver and his friends had been prepared. During investigation, we came to know the complaint was false,” said DCP Ashok Dudhe.
Sharma-Menon, however, claimed that encounter specialist officer Daya Nayak, who was reinstated earlier this year and posted at Amboli police station, framed Kashyap in the case. “Barun has no friends here and did not know what to do. Someone told me him to approach me so I took him to meet my lawyers. He recorded a statement and was travelling in my car to the lawyer’s office today, when the police swooped in within a few hundred feet of my house. They arrested both Barun and my driver,” Sharma-Menon said.
The AAP has also alleged that Nayak had last week forced Kashyap to change the statement he had recorded with the police in August. “Barun feared for his life. So he signed the documents given to him.” Police said Sharma-Menon’s driver Pashilkar had been let off. The AAP leader said she would file a formal complaint against the arrest. Amboli police station senior inspector Bharat Gaikwad claimed AAP’s allegations were baseless. “We have strong digital evidence against Kashyap and have arrested him on the basis of that evidence. We work within the framework of the law,” he said.