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Assault case: Ex-Maharashtra minister gets anticipatory bail

Thane, Feb 17 (IANS) A Thane Sessions Court granted anticipatory bail to senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra minister Jitendra Awhad in a case pertaining to the assault of a Thane civic body official, here on Friday.

The Naupada Police Station had booked Awhad and others on Wednesday in connection with the assault on Mahesh Aher, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).

Aher was targeted by the former Minister’s supporters, who reacted after an audio clip surfaced in which the TMC official can be heard allegedly hatching a conspiracy to kill Awhad’s daughter Natasha and her husband Alan Patel, and how he had given a contract for this to the mafia.

The audio clip sparked off strong reactions among NCP workers and leaders and some, like ex-Minister Dhananjay Munde, demanded a probe and Aher’s dismissal for harbouring underworld links.

Incidentally, Thane is the hometown of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, his son and MP Shishir Shinde, and the latest incident is billed as yet another political turf war as Awhad was elected from Mumbra-Kalwa assembly constituency against the backdrop of the upcoming civic bodies elections in the state including the TMC.

After the incident, Awhad hit back by tweeting a video wherein Aher was allegedly counting bundles of bribe money, and also submitted a written complaint to the Vartak Nagar Police Station against the TMC official, but there had been no movement on it, said an aide.

“The TMC’s AMC has admitted to giving a contract to a mafia don to kill my daughter and son-in-law. This is not politics. It’s way beyond that. My supporters who are charged with assaulting Aher merely wanted to scare him. We have also lodged a complaint against Aher based on the audio clip and now the police should act,” Awhad said grimly.

It may be recalled that in November 2022, Awhad was booked in two different cases by Thane Police, which sparked off a major political row as he cried foul and termed it as a plot to finish off his political career.

The first case pertains to forcibly stopping the screening of a film show of “Har Har Mahadev” which allegedly distorted the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and assaulting some patrons in the cinema hall.

A week after that, in another incident, Awhad was booked in an alleged molestation case following a complaint by a Bharatiya Janata Party woman activist while he was trying to negotiate a large crowd in Thane.