Former Navy man, Madan Sharma
Former Navy man, Madan Sharma

Samta Nagar Police re-arrested six people under the charges of house trespassing late on Monday night in connection with the assault of a former Navy man, Madan Sharma, 65. The assault was a reaction from a group of Shiv Sainiks over Sharma allegedly forwarding a ‘cartoon’ of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on WhatsApp. The accused were produced in a local magistrate court on Tuesday and granted bail again. A Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged that police never asked for custody and they will now move the court.

Late on Monday, Samta Nagar Police invoked the charges of house trespassing after preparation of hurt, assault, or wrongful restraint under section 452 of the Indian Penal Code, which is a non-bailable offence, leading to the arrest of six people, said Raju Kasbe, senior inspector of Samta Nagar police station. The arrested accused have been identified as Kamlesh Kadam, Sanjay Manjre, Rakesh Belnekar, Pratap Sund Vera, Sunil Desai and Rakesh Mulik.

When produced before the court, the arrested accused were granted bail on a surety of ₹15,000 each. Atul Bhatkhalkar, a BJP MLA from Kandivali (E) has accused police of shielding the Shiv Sena workers as a number of procedures were missed. Observing this police apathy, the BJP MLA will now move the court directly and not bother with the police, he said a tweet.

"The police did not produce the relevant documents, neither did they ask for their police custody. Moreover, the police did not inform the court about their criminal history and indirectly helped them in securing bail, despite being arrested in a non-bailable offence," read a letter by Bhatkhalkar.

Incidentally, Sharma had also met the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari where the latter had assured of speaking to the Centre about the imposition of President's rule. Sharma later told the media that he will stand with the BJP-RSS as they were the ones who came to his rescue after the attack.

The incident took place on September 11, days after Sharma, a retired sailor and a resident of Thakur Complex in Kandivali (E) had forwarded a message on WhatsApp in his society group. On September 11, the arrested accused had called Sharma and attacked him near the society's gate. While Sharma rushed inside his building, the men followed and assaulted him. He sustained an injury on his eyes. "I kept telling them that I just forwarded the post but they were not ready to listen," Sharma had said in his statement.

Police had booked the accused under sections of IPC for voluntarily causing grievous hurt (section 325) and under the sections of unlawful assembly and rioting. The accused were arrested then and granted bail on Friday.

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