The BJP on Saturday claimed that Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil and the Mumbai Police were well aware of the possibility of violence at Azad Maidan on August 11,in which two persons were killed and 54 injured.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said a woman – whose identity is undisclosed – had,on August 9,written to the Home Minister,the Police Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) (Zone VIII) informing them that an externed criminal,Salim Lightwala,had allegedly led a gang that had planned the violence. He alleged that the police paid no heed to the letter.
At a press conference in the BJP office in Nariman Point,Bhandari also showed a photograph of Patil and state Housing Minister Sachin Ahir with Maulana Moin Miyan of Raza Academy that had organised the rally. Bhandari said Miyan was named by the police as Accused Number 7 in the case and faced charges of instigating the mob at the rally. The photograph,the BJP claims,was taken on August 5 or 6.
At an NCP function in Mumbai,Home Minister R R Patil,however,said,As home minister,I have to meet many people and I do that. There is no truth in these allegations. I can also send pictures of BJP leaders with them. I will give appropriate answers to these allegations. The photo,sources in the government said,was taken during an iftar party.
Bhandari added that Miyans brother was a NCP corporator from Thane. When politicians and ministers are hobnobbing with such persons,the police cannot take any action, he said. He was referring to Sayyed Ashraf Ali,the corporator from Mumbra. When asked about this,Patil said he would check how the ticket was given. Sachin Ahir could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Displaying the photograph in which Miyan is flanked by Patil and Ahir,Bhandari alleged the NCP had aided the rioters. The Congress-NCP government backs those who are inclined towards rioting, Bhandari said.
Bhandari added that the letter written on August 9 said Lightwala had entered the city with choppers,cartridges and fake currency. In another letter on August 14,the woman,a resident of Garib Nagar in Bandra,said although externed,Lightwala continued to operate from his hideout in Bandra (East).
The BJP leader claimed that citizens had informed the police about the riots and Mumbai prior to the violent outburst such as in the case of the Pune bomb blasts earlier this month. BJP member and lawyer Ganesh Sovani also said the DCP (Zone VIII) owes an explanation to people for not taking any action despite the letter. He called for an inquiry against the whole government.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray made similar allegations last week,saying that a gang was involved in the August 11 violence.