Updated: September 20, 2021 10:34:11 pm
BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya was detained at Karad railway station in Satara district of western Maharashtra on Monday. The detention followed prohibitory orders issued by the Kolhapur district collector under section 144 (1)(3) of CrPC.
Somaiya had recently accused senior NCP leader and Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif of being involved in a Rs 127-crore money laundering scam. Somaiya had set out to Kolhapur district to visit and inspect the properties of Mushrif.
In this context Somaiya had made a public declaration that he would visit Mushrif’s properties in Kolhapur. He had even dared Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil to stop him from going to Kolhapur.
Subsequently an order was issued by Kolhapur Collector Rahul Rekhewar prohibiting his entry into the district. “BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has been prohibited from entering Kolhapur district under Section 144 in view of the threat to his life and possibility of a law and order situation due to his visit,” the order said.
“Since Ganpati immersion was going on, which required additional police force, it would not be possible to provide security to Somaiya,” the order added.
Somaiya said, “The state government thwarted my Kolhapur visit as it does not want the truth to come out in public. But I have collected a 2700-page document about all the wrongdoings by Mushrif and his relatives. And more will be out. I have briefed the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department.”
Mushrif denied all the corruption charges and threatened to file a defamation suit against Somaiya. “I will file a Rs 150 crore defamation suit against Somaiya for maligning my image and making false charges,” he said.
On Sunday, police were deployed outside Somaiya’s Mulund residence in Mumbai. Senior police inspector Sunil Kamble cited the Kolhapur collector’s order for his detention. However, on Monday morning Somaiya set out defying the order and was detained in Karad ahead of Kolhapur.
Somaiya’s detention was criticized by the BJP. Opposition leader in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said, “This is the first time in the history of Independent India that the police have detained a leader who filed a complaint in a corruption case against a minister. Maharashtra is witnessing an undeclared emergency. The government’s highhandedness is to silence anybody who dares to question the corruption and wrongdoing in the government.”
State BJP president Chandrakant Patil termed the MVA government a “dictatorship”. “Detention of a leader without issuing a warrant is illegal. We will take the battle against Maha Vikas Aghadi government to the people,” he said.
The Maharashtra government defended the move, with Walse-Patil stating that the decision to detain Somaiya was taken to avoid any untoward incident and law and order problem.
“The decision was taken by the home department. Law and order was the concern. There is nothing political about this action. I am not aware whether CM was in the know of the order,” Walse-Patil said.
NCP minister Jayant Patil said, “Nobody has stopped BJP leaders from speaking or travelling. But if the situation could lead to law and order problems, then the government has to exercise caution.”
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