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Fadnavis allegations in House: What is the case against BJP’s Girish Mahajan

The transcript also contains discussion among some of the people, including Chavan, on planting evidence to frame Mahajan under MCOCA, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, a stringent legislation which has provisions of longer detentions, mainly to control notorious organised gangs.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
Updated: March 10, 2022 9:18:42 am
Devendra Fadnavis, Devendra Fadnavis news, Maharashtra local body polls, OBC seats, Maharashtra, Indian Express, OBC quota, OBC reservation, Indian express, current affairsFadnavis submitted a pen drive to the Assembly chair which he said contained video recordings of over 125 hours. (File)

LEADER OF Opposition in Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday claimed in the Assembly that there was conspiracy to frame BJP leaders, particularly Girish Mahajan in a case registered with the Pune police. Mahajan is a sitting MLA from Jamner constituency in Jalgaon district and was Minister of Water Resources in the BJP-led government earlier.

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Fadnavis submitted a pen drive to the Assembly chair which he said contained video recordings of over 125 hours. He claimed the videos have proof, among other alleged wrongdoings, of a conspiracy hatched by leaders of the in-power Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) along with Public Prosecutor Pravan Chavan, some police officials to frame Mahajan in a case registered with Pune police in January 2021.

In his speech, the former CM also read out parts of transcript of the purported videos conversations between Chavan, some police officials including two from Pune, and some leaders of the MVA. Transcripts also had names of senior police officials and political leaders who are not part of the conversations but were referred to.

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The transcript also contains discussion among some of the people, including Chavan, on planting evidence to frame Mahajan under MCOCA, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, a stringent legislation which has provisions of longer detentions, mainly to control notorious organised gangs.

The case against Mahajan and others

The case against Mahajan was registered with Pune City on January 4, 2021, after it was transferred from Jalgaon district police where it was originally registered in December 2020.

In the FIR, Girish Mahajan and 28 others have been booked on the charges of extortion, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy, causing hurt to extort confession or property, forgery and theft based on complaint filed by one Vijay Patil, who is a lawyer and one of the directors of the Jilha Maratha Vidyaprasarak Sahakari Samaaj, a cooperative educational institute in Jalgaon. At the time, Pune Police officials said that the crime was the fallout of a dispute between two groups taking control of the governing body of the said institution. Many of those booked belonged to the group rival to which complainant Patil belonged. The said events as alleged in FIR had taken place in early 2018.

The charges levelled in the FIR

The FIR had stated that as part of the criminal conspiracy involving the 29 accused, Patil was threatened to resign from his position as director. The FIR stated that Patil was asked to come to Pune on the pretext of giving him some papers pertaining to the institute. In Pune, he was threatened to hand over the control of the institute and take Rs 1 crore in return or else he will be killed, the FIR said. According to the FIR, Patil was taken to a flat in Sadashiv Peth area of Pune where he was beaten up, threatened at knife-point and was confined in a room overnight after he was made to remove his clothes.

The FIR states that he was asked to bring resignations of all then serving directors or else face cases under the MPDA Act or ‘Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug Offenders and Dangerous Persons Act, 1981’ known as Gunda Act. Some of the suspects in the case were also accused of forcefully entering Patil’s office premises in Jalgaon and threatening people with an axe.

Reactions to Fadnavis’s allegations

After Fadnavis’s allegations, The Indian Express tried to contact advocate Pravin Chavan and Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta multiple times for their reaction. Both did not answer the calls. Speaking to a TV channel, Pravin Chavan said on Tuesday night, “I have no links with the government nor any of my family members is in politics. I have not seen the video till now and the authenticity of these images can only be verified by the forensic department. There is a possibility that in the cases wherein I have been a prosecutor and where the accused who have not been able to secure bail, they may feel that removing the lawyer out of the equation would help them.” Speaking to reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday evening, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil said he was yet to go through the contents of recordings and that he will speak on the issue in the Assembly.

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