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Rane attacks Uddhav, faces arrest


Mumbai: Union Minister Narayan Rane has sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter's ignorance of the year of India's Independence.

A first information report was registered in Nashik against Rane for his remarks, prompting Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey to issue orders for his immediate arrest.

Accordingly, a Nashik police team left in the morning for Ratnagiri district, where Rane is currently carrying out his Jan Ashirwad Yatra, an official said.

'It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap,' Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Raigad district on Monday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of Independence during his August 15 address to people of the state.

Thackeray had to check the year of Independence with his aides midway during the speech, Rane alleged.

Following his remarks, a complaint was lodged against Rane by the Shiv Sena Nashik unit chief at the cyber police station.

Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered against Rane in Nashik under Indian Penal Code sections 500 (defamation), 505(2) (mischief), 153-B (1)(c) (remarks likely to cause disharmony, or feeling of enmity or hatred or ill-will), a police officer said.

Considering the law and order situation across the state and in Nashik in the wake of Rane's remarks, Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey ordered an investigation into the matter and the Union minister's immediate arrest.

Accordingly, a team, led by Nashik Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Sanjay Barkund and comprising police Inspector Ananda Wagh and other officers, was formed and it rushed to Chiplun in Ratnagiri to arrest Rane.

The team was asked to arrest Rane and produce him before a court in Nashik, the official said, adding the team was also directed to follow due procedure for arresting an Union minister.

"We are going by the facts of the case after the registration of an offence against Rane. We are following the rule of law," Pandey said, adding the arrest was needed to prevent the repetition of such an offence.

The Union minister will be arrested in the case and produced before a court, and further action will be taken according to orders of the court, the police commissioner said.

After Rane's arrest, Vice President (Venkaiah Naidu) will be informed as the Union minister is a member of the Rajya Sabha, the official said.

"While arresting Rane, police will follow all protocols with regard to a Union minister," he said adding all his privileges as Union minister will be considered.

Whatever he wants to say, he can put forth before the court, the senior police official said.

Meanwhile, in Aurangabad, Shiv Sena Spokesperson Ambadas Danve lodged a complaint against Rane at the Kranti Chowk police station over the latter's remarks against the CM.

Talking to reporters after lodging the police complaint, Danve said, "Earlier, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray used to call Narayan Rane as 'Naru', which is the name of a disease in Marathi. The Shiv Sena has a remedy for this disease."

The MLC called Rane a 'kombdi chor' (chicken stealer) -- a reference to the poultry shop he ran in Chembur five decades ago during his initial stint with the Sena -- a released a couple of hens at the Kranti Chowk square.

The women's wing of the Shiv Sena will also undertake an agitation in Aurangabad, Danve said.

"Earlier, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray used to call Narayan Rane as 'Naru', which is the name of a disease in Marathi. The Shiv Sena has a remedy for this disease," he said.

He claimed Rane made the statement to provoke the Shiv Sena.

Rane's remarks drew sharp reactions from the Shiv Sena, whose workers put several posters in Mumbai and other places, calling him 'kombdi chor'.

Vinayak Raut, the Shiv Sena's Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP, alleged that Rane had lost his mental balance.

"To impress the BJP leadership, Rane has been attacking the Shiv Sena and its leaders. He lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi ministry," Raut said. "Modi should show him the door."—PTI