The Bombay High Court has rejected an anticipatory bail plea filed by Trupti Desai, the head of Bhumata Brigade, and others in connection with robbery and caste atrocity case filed against her by Vijay Annasaheb Makasare (33), a Dalit activist from Ahmednagar. A bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Prakash Naik passed an order in this regard on April 23. Trupti had shot to prominence in 2016 when she led an agitation demanding entry for women into Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district.
Following a complaint lodged by Makasare on July 6, 2017, an offence was lodged at Hinjewadi police station against Trupti, her husband Prashant Desai, and Satish Desai, Kantilal, alias Anna Gaware, and two others under sections 341, 323, 394, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
In the complaint, Makasare said that on June 27, 2017, when he was on his way to Mumbai via Balewadi with Trupti in a car, Prashant, Satish, Kantilal and two others, who were in another car, allegedly intercepted his vehicle near Balewadi stadium around 11.30 am. Makasare claimed Trupti snatched two cell phones from him and handed them over to her husband Prashant saying those carried “evidence” against them. She allegedly asked Prashant and the others to beat up Makasare.
According to the complaint, the accused beat up Makasare with an iron rod and wooden stick. They allegedly robbed him of valuables, including a gold chain worth Rs 15,000, Rs 27,000 in cash and two goggles. Makasare has alleged that Trupti had asked him to remain silent about the incident and threatened him with a false case lodged against him by women activists.
Trupti then allegedly passed an inappropriate comment regarding Makasare’s caste.
According to Makasare, he had joined the Bhumata Brigade and on May 24, 2017, he got a letter appointing him as the state vice-president of Bhumata Brigade. But the letter did not carry the registration number of the organisation. “When I asked, I was told Bhumata Brigade is not a registered outfit. I raised objections about the way it was functioning. So, Trupti Desai made false allegations in Ahmednagar… that I am involved in cases of harassment of women and extortion… On June 26, Trupti Desai called me and asked me to accompany her to Mantralaya in Mumbai for some personal work. I agreed because I have never had personal differences with her,” he said.
“But on June 27, I was brutally attacked. I was terrified and I rushed back to Ahmednagar without lodging a police complaint. When the pain persisted, I got admitted to a civil hospital and then to a private hospital for treatment on July 1. I gave a statement to the Ahmednagar police while undergoing treatment. Later, an FIR was registered with the Pune City Police,” he added.
The person who received the call on Trupti’s phone said she was in Karnataka. Earlier, speaking to the newspaper Trupti had said Makasare’s complaint was “false” and it was a conspiracy against her. Trupti and the other accused moved High Court seeking anticipatory bail. According to the court order, Desai and others had submitted that Makasare does not belong to Scheduled Caste and has got converted to Christianity and also that his complaint was false. But the court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Trupti and the others stating: “We are not going into the truth and falsity of the allegations at this stage. Once this complaint is perused in its entirety, particularly in the backdrop of the provisions of the SC/ST Act… we cannot term this complaint as a patent false version.”
The court said no material was submitted to show Makasare’s alleged conversion to Christianity. Assistant Commissioner of Police Vikram Patil is investigating the case. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III), Ganesh Shinde, said he would speak to the investigation officer for updates.