In the case of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers staging an aggressive protest outside NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence, the police have sought extended custody of workers’ advocate Gunaratna Sadavarte.
He was arrested on Friday for instigating the protest. The police said he was in touch with someone in Nagpur prior to the violent agitation and claimed that presence of media was sought. These details,the police said, emerged during the scrutiny of Sadavarte’s phone.
While seeking Sadavarte’s custody, special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat argued that they had seized his mobile phone, which seems to be new with no data prior to March 31. He added that while some of the conversation is suspected to be deleted, they want to retrieve the data. Cops said Sadavarte was also in constant touch with one Chandrakant Suryawanshi, who runs a YouTube channel.
Objectionable and instigating videos were found posted, following which Suryawanshi was also made a wanted accused in the case. On the morning of the incident, Sadavarte made a WhatsApp call to Suryawanshi and a person from Nagpur. While the call went unanswered, he received a message asking to send reporters in reply, said Gharat.
The police had demanded 11 days of police remand; however, after the hearing, the court extended Sadavarte’s custody by two days for interrogating him along with four other accused.
Gharat also said that they suspect someone else to be part of the conspiracy who wants to challenge the law and order situation of the state and show that it has gone to the docks.
For representing MSRTC employees in court, Sadavarte had taken Rs 530 from every employee and the amount had touched Rs 1.8 crore. Gharat said they want to know the other beneficiaries of the fund. Sadavarte was represented by senior advocate Girish Kulkarni, who said there is no need for custodial interrogation. He asked if employees have complained about the fees that they paid.
No damage took place during the agitation, which makes it clear that there was no such intent, he added. Meanwhile, the Satara police have approached the Girgaon court for seeking Sadavarte’s custody in a two-year-old case.
An offence was registered at Satara city police station for allegedly making an objectionable statement against Sambhaji Raje Bhosale and Udayan Raje Bhosale in 2020. The court said it can grant custody only when his police custody ends