Four hours after Shiv Sena owned up the attack against ORF chairperson Sudheendra Kulkarni, six Shiv Sena activists were picked up for the “premeditated” attack. “We started to retrace their steps. There were multiple eyewitnesses who saw the six persons run, and their inputs were crucial to the arrests,” said a police officer.
Police said that the list of eyewitnesses included a xerox shop owner from a lane full of such shops, who “clearly remembers watching men with black paint on their hands” run and another shop owner near GTB station who recalls four people splitting up near his shop.
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“We acted on information about the whereabouts of the accused. While Gajanan Patil was picked from Antop Hill, two others were nabbed at Wadala and then three more from Chembur. All of them were arrested at around 10.30 pm on Monday night,” said a senior police officer.
Police said that the arrested were Gajanan Patil, Dinesh Prasad, Ashok Waghmare, Prakash Husbe, Samadhan Jugdhav and Venkatesh Nair. They were charged with rioting, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation under IPC, along with relevant sections of the Maharashtra (Bombay) Police Act.
The officer added that former mayor Shardha Jadhav visited the police station to facilitate the bond process and denied that any of the accused were her relatives. “The offences were bailable and the accused were released in the wee hours of Tuesday after paying Rs 5,000 as bail each,” the officer said.
“Since they were locals, they had all the necessary information about Kulkarni such as where he lives and which car he drives. We recovered three bottles of oil paint of about 200 ml each from the spot. The plan to smear Kulkarni was probably hatched on Sunday night,” the officer added.
Police said the accused did not protest their arrest but “admitted to their roles” when brought to the police station on Monday night. “In their statements that they have recorded with us, they said that ‘defacing Kulkarni was not done out of any personal vendetta but out of a political agenda’,” the officer further said.