The Surat police on Tuesday arrested eight people after a video in which they can purportedly be seen drinking at a Ganesh pandal went viral. The video was shot in Golwad area of the city on Sunday and was widely circulated on social media.
Those arrested were identified as Kamlesh Rana, Tejas Rana, Roshan Rana, Ganesh Rana, Rajnikant Rana, Amit Rana, Anil Rana and Ashraf Pathan. All the accused are residents of the area where the video was shot. The area was infamous for bootlegging earlier in the city, the police said.
The Mahidhapura police has booked all the accused under IPC sections 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 295(a) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 143 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and also under relevant sections of the Gujarat Prohibition Act.
The police is now trying to identify people in three other videos that have been circulated. “On Tuesday, we had a meeting with Ganesh pandal organisers, where we were informed about the video. Meanwhile, we had received information at our control room too. From the Ganesh idol, we identified the pandal and accordingly identified the eight accused. Our team is now identifying the others,” said in-charge Commissioner of Police, Surat, Harikrishna Patel.
The liqour was bought on the permit of one of the accused’s mother, he added. The police also carried out raids in the area, but did not find anything. “Around 10-20 years ago, this area was a notorious bootlegging pocket. The situation has improved a lot now. As per records, we carried out raids at 12 different locations in the area but did not find anything. An ACP rank police officer has been asked to investigate whether there was any lapse in police vigil. The video was shot around midnight, when less than 30% of the police strength is out patrolling,” Patel added.