Raigad Police have arrested three persons, including a journalist and a cameraman of the Republic Media Network, for allegedly trespassing into Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's farmhouse in Raigad on Tuesday. According to police, the accused allegedly abused and thrashed the security guard at the farmhouse. The incident came to light when the police arrested the three from Navi Mumbai, as they were returning to Mumbai. Confirming the arrests, Raigad Superintendent of Police (SP) Anil Paraskar said, " The accused were produced before the court on Wednesday which remanded them in five days of police custody. Our investigation is underway".
The motive for the alleged trespass and the involvement of others, if any, are being looked into, said a police officer. However, the police refused to divulge the identities of the accused and the news channel they were representing. But the Republic Media Network put out an online report on the incident on Wednesday evening, saying a team had been following a journalistic lead on an investigative assignment in Karjat.
According to the security guard's statement, he was reporting for night duty on Tuesday evening at around 7.30 pm when he saw a car waiting on a bridge over Bhilwale dam. The passenger seated beside the driver asked him for directions to the Thackeray farmhouse. But finding their presence suspicious, the guard told them he did not know the way and left.
When he reached the farmhouse, he changed into his uniform and began work. Sometime later, the trio he had earlier met arrived at the farmhouse and on recognising him, began questioning why he had lied to them and verbally abused him. Later, a person sitting in the backseat of the car alighted and allegedly punched the guard in his chest while another threatened him with dire consequences and they left, said the security guard in his statement.
Shaken by the episode, the security guard waited in his cabin until the caretaker of the farmhouse arrived. When the latter heard what had transpired, he took the guard to the police station. On the security guard's complaint, Khalapur Police registered an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint (452), punishment for house-trespass (448), punishment for voluntarily causing hurt (323), intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace (504), criminal intimidation (506) and common intention (34) against the three.
According to the report published by Republic Media, their reporter Anuj Kumar, video journalist Yashpaljit Singh and Ola cab driver Pradeep Dilip Dhanavade have been taken into illegal police custody by Maharashtra Police. The article further said, "The reporting team was following a journalistic lead in an investigative assignment in Karjat in Raigad. In what is the biggest clampdown on the right to report, the Republic team was apprehended and thrown into jail for 4 days after making an enquiry with a security guard of a certain residence. We are shocked that the Republic team was denied any legal representation before being sent to 4 days of custody.
"We are being informed that our reporter is being pressured by the state machinery in Maharashtra to reveal his story, his leads and his sources. Our reporter will not reveal the source or story."