Mumbai News: Riot Over Narayan Rane’s Expulsion, 18 Shiv Sainiks Acquitted After 19 Years

Mumbai News: Riot Over Narayan Rane’s Expulsion, 18 Shiv Sainiks Acquitted After 19 Years

As per the prosecution case, after the expulsion of Rane, a square meeting was organised by his supporters at Nagu Sayaji Wadi in Prabhadevi.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Sunday, May 05, 2024, 12:03 AM IST
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Union minister Narayan Rane | PTI

Nineteen years after over 100 Shiv Sena (undivided) workers were booked for “unlawful assembly and rioting” following Narayan Rane’s expulsion from the party on July 24, 2005 for “anti-party activities”, the sessions court, has acquitted 18 party members, including former mayor Vishakha Raut and former corporator Snehal Jadhav. Interestingly, the trial in the matter commenced only last year and witnesses couldn’t identify the accused owing to lapse of time. The statements of witnesses were also recorded nearly a month after the incident.

The leaders acquitted are Raut, Jadhav, Suryakant Birje, Madhukar Kachave, Ashok Kelkar, Laxman Bhosale, Mahesh Sawant, Pravin Shetye, Sumitra Pathare, Ajit Kadam, Sudha Meher, Shridhar Shelar, Hareshwar Worlikar, Sanjay Bhavake, Chandrapal Chandeliya, Sarita Ingale, Rajani Mistry, and Anusaya Mathapati.

In 2003, the Shiv Sena named Uddhav Thackeray as party’s “executive president” at a meeting in Mahabaleshwar, which Rane vehemently objected to. The rumblings changed to full protest in two years and Rane was expelled by Balasaheb Thackeray, further dividing the party into pro and anti-Rane groups.

Sequence Of Events Leading To Unlawful Assembly And Rioting Incident

As per the prosecution case, after the expulsion of Rane, a square meeting was organised by his supporters at Nagu Sayaji Wadi in Prabhadevi. At the venue of the said meeting, there were clashes between Rane’s supporters and Shiv Sainiks. They shouted slogans against each other and pelted stones. The police resorted to batons to subdue the rioters.

Thereafter, Shiv Sena leaders and party workers had gathered at the police station for discussion. At around 2.55pm, party members blocked Jakadevi Square at Dadar. A mob of 150 to 200 Shiv Sainiks sat on the road at Jakhadevi Square. The mob shouted slogans. 

The prosecution claimed that the mob threw stones at the closed shops and also vehicles, thereby blocking the road completely. The police intervened to disperse the crowd. However, as the mob had turned violent, the case of unlawful assembly and rioting was registered.

Court's Critical Assessment Leads To Acquittal Of Accused In Rioting Case

Special judge RN Rokade said, “It is imperative to note that the identity of the accused constitutes a crucial issue in a criminal trial. In case of mammoth rioting, the task becomes more onerous as implication of inquisitive spectators needs to be ruled out.”

The court noted that none of the accused were arrested from the spot. “It is well settled that unexplained delay explores the possibility of concoction. In the case at hand, the aforesaid delay in recording the statements of the witnesses is not at all explained by the prosecution, which also causes serious dents to the prosecution case,” the court said while acquitting all the accused.

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