Days after BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s MLA-son Akash assaulted an Indore municipal officer with a cricket bat, Maharashtra Congress MLA Nitesh Rane, son of former Chief Minister Narayan Rane, assaulted a National Highways Authority of India deputy engineer, paraded him on the streets, tied him to the pillar of a bridge before getting buckets of dirt and mud poured on him.
The incident took place Thursday morning in the town of Kankavli in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. Following a complaint from the engineer, Prakash Shedekar, police arrested Nitesh Rane and will produce him in the local court Friday.
The attack on the engineer continued for more than half an hour, and took place in the presence of town mayor Samir Malvade, deputy mayor Babu Gaikwad and officials of the Kankavli Municipal Corporation. Police said the men are absconding and searches are being conducted. Along with Rane, police have arrested a few supporters of his Swabhimaan Sangathna, and more are likely to booked by evening.
#WATCH: Congress MLA Nitesh Narayan Rane and his supporters throw mud on engineer Prakash Shedekar at a bridge near Mumbai-Goa highway in Kankavali, when they were inspecting the potholes-ridden highway. They later tied him to the bridge over the river. pic.twitter.com/B1XJZ6Yu6z
— ANI (@ANI) July 4, 2019
According to witnesses, Rane initially reprimanded the engineer, but it soon became a heated conversation and he was heard saying he was “not afraid of cases being filed” against him or “charges being brought”. The assault began soon after.
Torrential rain in the area had led to a mud slide from a construction site, blocking the road to a village. Residents were said to have lodged complaints, and were counting on a speedy response from highway officials who they claimed had piled construction material.
Rane showed up at the site for an “inspection”. Residents said Swabhimaan Sangathna supporters had accompanied him, carrying ropes and buckets.
According to witnesses, the engineer was “pulled and pushed” towards the road, assaulted by Rane and his supporters, and made to walk on the slushy road connecting the village to the bridge. He was paraded outside homes where Rane allegedly asked residents if the engineer had responded to their complaints.
Reached for comments, Rane said: “There were repeated complaints which were not acted upon by the engineer. Work on a flyover on the National Highway, which is the Mumbai-Goa highway, is currently on. Local residents have repeatedly complained that there is no service road and no means for water dispersal in case it rains heavily. I have nothing against the officer personally. I know what was done was an extreme step. But it was definitely called for, and reflected the extreme anger of the people.”
“If I, as the local MLA, do not represent people’s sentiments, then who will? If tomorrow there is a mishap because this work is not done and lives are lost, we as leaders will only be there for paying tributes to the dead. This action was an act of protest to make sure that it does not happen,” he said.
Sindhudurg SP Dikshit Gedam said: “He (Rane) claims the construction of the highway was not completed in time and hence the incident took place. This is a criminal case now as he took the law in his hands. We are monitoring the case and will make sure everyone is arrested. He is now officially in police custody and will be dutifully produced in court tomorrow. The engineer has listed the assault that took place and we are looking at the evidence.”