Congress MP from Porbandar Vitthal Radadiya was on Friday booked for rioting and criminal intimidation and under the Arms Act after he allegedly threatened the staff at a toll plaza at Karjan in Vadodara district with a gun. A CCTV camera caught him in the act.
According to a complaint filed by Ajaysinh Thakore,the toll plaza manager,Radadiya arrived around 1.25 am on Friday. His driver told the toll plaza staff that the MP himself was travelling and so they were exempt from paying the Rs 80 tax. When the staff demanded an identification card,the driver showed them a colour photocopy. The toll booth staff insisted on the original,apparently infuriating the MP,who got down from the car with a gun and banged on the glass panel of the plaza window. Radadiya went on to spend some time at the plaza,holding aloft what police said looked like a carbine normally used by commandos.
The six others travelling with the MP have also been named in the FIR.
Vadodara DSP Usha Rada said,The police are investigating if the weapon was a licensed one and if it belonged to Radadiya or any one of the six others accompanying him in an Innova. Forensic experts had collected the CCTV footage,the DSP added.
Radadiya defended himself,saying he was surrounded by about 15 people carrying sticks after he told the plaza manager that being an MP,he was exempt from paying the toll.
Fifteen people surrounded us,saying the identity card shown by my driver was bogus,that I am a bogus MP. As an MP,I too have some prestige. I took out my licensed gun for my safety, he said.
Asked why he did not inform the police,an agitated Radadiya shot back,Who would have provided me security on the highway?
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said in Delhi that they had asked the state unit for a detailed report. Images which are being shown on TV are disturbing,undoubtedly. There is no running away from it. However,he added,The process of natural justice does entail that we give him a chance to explain.
The 50-year-old Radadiya is a Congress strongman from Saurashtra and Shankersinh Vaghela loyalist who faces at least 16 criminal cases,including of attempt to murder. The farmer leader was instrumental in mobilising crowds for Congress chief Sonia Gandhis recent rally in Rajkot.