Mumbai: The Mumbai Crime Branch has arrested two people in connection with the attack on MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande. They have been identified as Ashok Kharat, 56, and Kisan Solanki, 36. The Crime Branch said it scanned footage from over 250 CCTV cameras to trace the attackers.
Kharat is vice-president of Maharashtra State Mathadi and General Kamgar Sena, which has association with Sena Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena. The latter, however, denied any link to Kharat or the incident. The police said there are 13 cases registered against Kharat at various police stations, including murder, attempted murder and organised crime. This year he is planning to contest the BMC polls and wanted to gain publicity with the attack.
Kharat's association with Chhota Rajan gang
As per sources, Kharat is also associated with Nilesh alias Appa Paradkar, who has links with the Chhota Rajan gang. Paradkar had recently put up banners to wish Kharat on his birthday. He had also put up banners for Chhota Rajan’s birthday and was arrested for it; the case has been given to the Anti Extortion Cell for further probe.
Sources in the police said Kharat took a train from Bhandup in the morning and alighted at Nahur station where he met three others and together took the local train to Dadar. The police said he himself took a round of Shivaji Park to identify Deshpande. When spotted, he hit him with a stump from behind, following which others joined in. After Deshpande shouted in pain, they fled in four different directions to avoid getting recognised.
On return, Kharat walked from Shivaji Park to Mahim, took a taxi and reached BKC. From here, he took a rickshaw and reached Powai, before travelling ahead to Nahur. The rest of his companions also reached Nahur, where they reunited, and Kharat left for Bhandup.
The crime branch formed eight teams from officers of Unit 1 to 7. Kharat and his associate Solanki were arrested and presented in court, where their lawyer opposed Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code as Deshpande was hit below the waist. The Crime Branch’s lawyer MS Chowdhary told the court that the men hit Deshpande on his head but he shielded himself with his hands, resulting in a fractured wrist.
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