Updated: January 13, 2022 9:27:46 pm
The Bombay High Court on Thursday concluded hearing on a plea by BJP MLA Nitesh Rane, son of Union minister Narayan Rane, seeking anticipatory bail in an attempt-to-murder case filed against him last month. The court will pronounce its ruling on January 17.
The police orally assured the court that it would not take any coercive action against Nitesh till then. As per the case lodged by the police in Sindhudurg district, one Santosh Parab, 44, who was allegedly stabbed in the chest by a man who knocked down the former’s motorbike with a car in Kankavli, heard the assailant telling another person in the car that “they should inform Gotya Sawant and Nitesh Rane”.
A bench of Justice C V Bhadang was told by Nitesh that the FIR had been registered for preventing his participation in the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections, which were to be held on December 30, 2021. “This whole thing is a fallout of the catcalling incident that took place outside the Vidhan Bhawan on December 23. At that time, Shiv Sena leaders said Nitesh Rane would be taught a lesson,” his counsel had argued.
On Thursday, Special Public Prosecutor Sudeep Pasbola, opposed the anticipatory bail plea saying Nitesh was the “mastermind” in the case and trying to influence witnesses. “The state requires further custodial interrogation to establish the trail of money used to hire the alleged assailants for the assault,” Pasbola said. “Nitesh Rane cleverly did not contact his close confidant Sachin Satpute from his phone but did so from the phone his personal assistant Rakesh Parab’s phone. It is not the first such case Nitesh Rane is involved in. There are total six cases against him…the assailants were hired in Pune… and brought to Kankavli. The same modus operandi was used in other cases too.”
The prosecutor rejected Nitesh’s claims of a political vendetta, saying had it been the case the BJP MLA could have been arrested after the December 23 catcalling incident. “The conspiracy was unearthed only after the arrest of the accused Sachin Satpute, after which (Nitesh) Rane apprehended arrest,” Pasbola argued. The alleged murder attempt happened on December 18 last year, Nitesh was issued notice on December 21, and his statement recorded on December 24.
Nitesh’s counsel, Niteen Pradhan, dismissed the allegations of a murder attempt in view of the bank elections as “a figment of imagination”. He submitted that when the conspiracy was allegedly hatched in a vanity van on August 28, 2021, the bank election date was not announced at all. They were announced on November 26, he added.
The counsel stated the bank election was hotly contested and that because the bank chairman was a member of the ruling Shiv Sena, many people from outside had arrived in Kankavli. But, he further submitted, this didn’t mean these people were involved in some conspiracy.
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