Sena man critical after being shot by BJP MLA inside police station; Oppn targets CM Shinde

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Thane/Mumbai, Feb 3 (PTI) A local Shiv Sena leader was in critical condition on Saturday after a BJP MLA shot him inside a police station in Thane district, prompting the opposition to demand Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s resignation over the deteriorating law and order situation.

Ganpat Gaikwad (56), MLA of Kalyan in Thane district, admitted to opening fire, telling a news channel that he was provoked as his son was being beaten up in the presence of police during the incident that took place on Friday night.

Gaikwad and his two associates were produced before a magistrate on Saturday evening and remanded in police custody for 14 days.

While CM Shinde said the incident was "very unfortunate", deputy CM and home minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a high-level probe.

The BJP MLA opened fire on Mahesh Gaikwad (40), Kalyan unit chief of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, inside the chamber of the senior inspector of Hill Line police station in Ulhasnagar around 10.30 pm on Friday, said Additional Commissioner of Police Dattatraya Shinde.

Talking to Marathi news channel Zee24taas over phone before his arrest, Ganpat Gaikwad claimed he fired from his pistol as his son was being beaten up. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was trying to establish a "kingdom of criminals" in Maharashtra, he alleged.

Ulhasnagar, 45 km from Mumbai, falls in the Kalyan parliamentary constituency represented by CM Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde. BJP and the Shinde-led Sena are part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, but there is also a rivalry between local leaders of the two parties in Thane district.

Mahesh Gaikwad was shifted to a private hospital in Thane city. He underwent an emergency life-saving surgery and was on a ventilator, said the hospital in a statement on Saturday, adding that his condition was “currently critical” and the doctors were monitoring his vital signs. CM Shinde visited the hospital during the day.

Additional CP Shinde told reporters that Ganpat Gaikwad’s son went to the police station on Friday evening to lodge a complaint in connection with a land dispute when Mahesh Gaikwad arrived there with his men. Ganpat Gaikwad also reached the police station.

An altercation broke out between the MLA and the Sena leader, and Ganpat Gaikwad fired shots at Mahesh Gaikwad inside the senior inspector’s chamber, injuring him and Mahesh's associate Rahul Patil, the official said.

“Yes, I shot (him) myself. I have no regrets. If my son is being beaten up in front of police inside a police station, what will I do,” said Ganpat Gaikwad while talking to the news channel.

The BJP MLA alleged that Chief Minister Shinde was “trying to create a kingdom of criminals in Maharashtra”.

“If Eknath Shinde is chief minister, only criminals will be born in Maharashtra. He has turned a good person like me into a criminal today,” Ganpat Gaikwad said.

The BJP MLA accused Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde of putting up hoardings to grab credit for the work done by him. “They have levelled a charge of corruption against me. How much money did Eknath Shinde make in that corruption, Shinde should tell,” he said.

“I had told my seniors (in BJP) many times that these people are indulging in violence against my leaders,” the lawmaker said.

Talking about the land dispute that led to the firing, Ganpat Gaikwad said he had bought a plot of land ten years ago. There were some legal issues, but he won the court case. Mahesh Gaikwad, however, occupied it by force, he alleged.

“I have no regrets at all. As a father, I can not tolerate it if someone beats up my child,” Ganpat Gaikwad said.

The lawmaker went on to say that “Shinde saheb betrayed Uddhav (Thackeray) saheb, he will also betray the BJP… he owes me crores of rupees." "Shinde should resign if Maharashtra is to be governed well. This is my humble request to Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

Police arrested Ganpat Gaikwad and his associates Harshal Kene (34) and Sandeep Sarwankar (45) under Indian Penal Code sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), said an official.

Deputy CM Fadnavis termed the incident as serious. “I have asked the DGP (director general of police) to hold a high-level Inquiry. Everyone is equal before the law irrespective of their political affiliations,” Fadnavis told reporters.

The probe will find out what made the MLA to open fire, he added.

State BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said the party will take action against the MLA if he was guilty Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said it was wrong for elected representatives to take law into their own hands.

State Congress chief Nana Patole demanded resignation of CM Shinde, claiming that there was a law and order breakdown in the state.

NCP president Sharad Pawar termed the incident as worrisome and said there was a limit to the "misuse" of power. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut blamed CM Shinde for the incident.

While NCP working president Supriya Sule wondered if the home minister (Fadnavis) had given "open licence" to BJP leaders to play with law and order and demanded that the state government be "dismissed", state minister Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP-Ajit Pawar group) countered her by asking, “Did Fadnavis ask the MLA to open fire?” PTI COR MR PR NR NSK KRK

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