MORE THAN 10 years after Raj Thackeray-led MNS members had allegedly hurled stones at shops in Chembur for not installing signboards in Marathi, a metropolitan court acquitted six men for lack of evidence.
According to the prosecution, on September 11, 2008, as part of the MNS campaign to force shops and establishments to install signboards in Marathi, seven men had hurled stones at an optical retail brand and a private bank’s ATM near Diamond Garden in Chembur around 4.30 am.
The men also assembled and pelted auto-rickshaws, taxis and other shops and homes in the area with stones, police said. They were booked on charges, including rioting, endangering the lives of others, and causing mischief.
Police said the attack by the men, who were workers and members of the MNS, was to oppose signboards in English as part of the MNS campaign in 2008, based on a diktat from Thackeray.
“The prosecution has not submitted any document to show that the accused belonged to the MNS. The witnesses have also not said they are workers or members of the MNS,” the court said.
The court further observed that while witnesses had said there were some men who were spotted hurling stones, the exact roles were not assigned to any of the accused. It also held that the time of the attack was 4.30 am, when it was dark and witnesses may not have been able to see the attackers.
The court acquitted six of the accused of all charges. One person had died pending trial.