Cops look on as wanted criminal holds dharna

For the past three days, a Shiv Sena leader from Navi Mumbai has been giving interviews and holding a dharna in full view of the police at Azad Maidan and fighting for what he believes is right. 

Prafulla Mhatre and his supporters are seeking action against a local builder for failing to give timely delivery of a project to investors.

Captured on camera: TV grabs of Prafulla Mhatre holding a dharna at Azad Maidan along with his supporters; Mhatre is wanted by the police in several cases, including extortion and molestation 

He and his associates even met Minister of State for Home Satej Patil at Mantralaya to sort out the matter. While all that may seem par for the course, the real shocker is that the man is wanted by the police in several cases, including extortion and molestation.

Caught in the act
In November last year, Kalamboli police booked Mhatre and seven associates under Sections 384 (extortion), 452, 447, and 504 of IPC, and under nine other sections of CrPC. In April, Mhatre and his supporters ransacked the office of Shaukat Shaikh, proprietor of Quality Developers at Navi Mumbai and assaulted employees at the firm. He contacted Shaikh shortly after and proposed to end the matter, if the former gave him Rs 12 lakh in cash and a 2-BHK flat.

Shaikh had video recorded Mhatre accepting a bribe (CD available with MiD DAY) and the recording was produced in court as evidence. Based on the evidence, the court ordered for an FIR to be filed against Mhatre.

In January this year, Vashi police booked Mhatre, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) officer and Sena member Santosh Chinchulkar, and Sena worker Trishal Nagpure (copy available with MiD DAY) under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC.

Nagpure was arrested, but Mhatre and Chinchulkar are yet to be apprehended. As per the complaint, Nagpure, an associate of Mhatre, went to the office of Quality Developers at Sector 17 in Vashi and allegedly thrashed the office boy and damaged a phone.

He also reportedly passed lewd remarks at receptionist Mohini Awale. “Nagpure said that he knew what my ‘business’ was and asked me to go with him. He used expletives and grabbed my hand and tried to drag me away,” Awale said. Awale also claims that after this incident, she has started receiving threatening phone calls.

Senior police inspector KT Vidhate of Kalamboli police station said that an FIR has been registered in this regard. When asked why the accused has not been arrested, Vidhate said, “You will have to contact the investigating officer for further details.”¬†

‘Will meet CP’
When asked about his dispute with the builder, Mhatre said, “I met Satej Patil, who has now asked the commissioner to look into the matter. On Tuesday I will meet the Navi Mumbai police commissioner.”

However, he avoided commenting when questioned about being wanted on police records and regarding the various offences he has been booked under.

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