Threat to CM’s life, police step up vigil

Security has been tightened at the Chief Minister’s official residence ‘Varsha’ at Malabar Hill and also at his personal residence in Thane.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Monday, October 03, 2022, 08:18 AM IST
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Mumbai: Death threat to CM Eknath Shinde, security outside 'Varsha' and his Thane residence increased | FPJ

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's security has been beefed up after specific inputs about a threat to his life ahead of the Dussehra rallies of the two factions of the Shiv Sena and less than a week after the Centre’s decision to ban the Popular Front of India.

State Intelligence Commissioner Ashutosh Dumbre confirmed that there was specific information about a threat to the Chief Minister's life. Another officer said the threat involved a suicide bombing.

The timing of the threat is crucial as the Chief Minister has been visiting Navratri mandals and attending party and public functions.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in charge of the Home Department, has instructed the police to tighten Mr Shinde’s security and asked the state Director General of Police, Mumbai’s Police Commissioner and Mr Dumbre to set up a high-level team to trace the source of the threat.

Security has been tightened at the Chief Minister’s official residence ‘Varsha’ at Malabar Hill and also at his personal residence in Thane.

Responding to the threat, Mr Shinde said after attending a public function, “I do not care about such threats. Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Mumbai Police are competent enough to deal with them and we trust them. I was not scared by such threats in the past and will not be scared in the future too. Nobody can stop me from working for the public.”

The Chief Minister said he had earlier received threats from Naxals and other anti-national elements when he was a minister in the state government. “This is a security-related issue,” he said. “DCM Fadnavis and the Mumbai Police are quite capable of responding to such threats. If anyone wants to make an attempt they will not succeed.”

Mr Shinde’s office at Mantralaya had received a threatening letter a month ago. The Chief Minister had also received threats during Ashadhi Ekadashi.

School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar said, “The Chief Minister is on the list of terrorists. When he was guardian minister of Gadchiroli, he took action against Naxalites. Because of this, his life is in danger. So we always tell him not to leave his security detail and go into the crowd. We have lost two Prime Ministers like this.

“The Chief Minister is popular. However, he will have to take precautions. If he does not, his dream of making Maharashtra developed cannot be fulfilled,” Mr Kesarkar added.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, who owes allegiance to the Uddhav Thackeray camp, said police should take adequate security measures but also took a dig at the government, saying those in power were also issuing threats every day. “You must have read that our office-bearer from Navi Mumbai received a threat to leave the Shiv Sena and join the other camp,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Thackeray camp received a jolt on Sunday when about 3,000 members from Mumbai’s Worli area joined the Shinde faction. The Worli assembly seat is represented by former minister and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray.

The Chief Minister personally welcomed the Sainiks at ‘Varsha’. However, the Thackeray camp played down the development as another group of Sainiks led by party legislator Sunil Shinde and Worli party leader Ashish Chemburkar visited ‘Matoshree’ and expressed faith in the Thackerays.

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