Thane: Three held for abusing returning officer in Bhiwandi

Three persons, including a Shiv Sena candidate, were arrested for allegedly abusing a returning officer of the upcoming gram panchayat elections in Thane district, police said on Wednesday.

Sena candidate Devram Shankar Gulvi and his brothers Pravin and Vinod were arrested late on Tuesday night, while three more accused are yet to be apprehended, the station house officer of Shanti Nagar police station said.

According to the police, the Bhiwandi civic body's assistant municipal commissioner Dr Sunil Bhalerao, who is the returning officer for Nimbavli gram panchayat polls, had received a complaint from an NCP candidate that his Sena rival had put up a banner for polls without obtaining permission.

Even as the officer was probing the complaint on Tuesday, the rival group arrived at the scene and workers from Sena and NCP came to blows at the election office and vandalised the premises, the official said.

The accused allegedly abused the returning officer who tried to pacify them, and additional police force had to be called in to address the situation, he said.

Even at the time of distribution of symbols, there was a fight between the rival groups, the officer said.

The situation was brought under control after about an hour, the official said.

A case under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty) and other relevant provisions of the IPC has been registered and further probe is underway, he added.

Polling for 14,234 gram panchayats in Maharashtra will be held on January 15.

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