Sanjay Pardeshi has given city cops several sleepless nights. The 51-year-old had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, threatening to immolate himself in front of the PM, upon his visit to the city. He alleged he was doing this because the BMC had meted out ‘injustice’ to him on the instructions of a BJP legislator over an encroached plot in Juhu. He was finally detained yesterday, hours before the PM’s arrival.
Sanjay Pardeshi has been in the limelight over the encroachment of a one-acre plot in Juhu’s Ritambara College area
Since the PM was scheduled to visit the city yesterday morning to inaugurate the Maritime India Summit at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre in Goregaon, the special branch of the city police received input about Pardeshi, who was possibly going to try to commit suicide in front of the PM. Hence, officials from the special branch were put on the job since Tuesday, to collect information on Pardeshi’s whereabouts, a senior IPS officer told mid-day. Officials from the Juhu police station confirmed they too received input about Pardeshi’s plans to do ‘something’, and hence, he was detained yesterday morning and questioned for hours at the Juhu police station. Pardeshi has been in the limelight over the encroachment of a one-acre plot in Juhu’s Ritambara College area, where he has allegedly built illegal shanties.
Juhu police said that last year, he was booked under the Maharashtra Region and Town Planning (MRTP) Act on the complaint of BMC officials, following a massive demolition in February 2015.
An officer said Pardeshi has a few cases on his head. Pardeshi had also sent a WhatsApp forward, regarding his plans for immolating himself in front of the PM.
Cases false and baseless
When mid-day spoke to Pardeshi, he said that all the cases filed against him are completely false and baseless and are a result of a nexus among the BMC, police and the local BJP legislator. Pardeshi said, “In order to remove me from the area, the BJP legislator, a builder and BMC officials are using these tactics of registering false cases against me as I am a Dalit. Why can’t Dalit people live in a posh Juhu locality?”
He added, “There is a sessions court’s stay on any action on the disputed land, on which me and people from my community live. I have approached many ministers, government officials, commissioners, but none of them have been able to give me justice. I was so frustrated that I decided to end my life and faxed a letter to PMO about the same. I was detained at the police station from morning till 9 pm on Thursday.”
Local residents and citizen groups had also opposed Pardeshi and expressed their anger against a Shiv Sena MP, who had backed Pardeshi and criticized BMC for their demolition drive, terming it as illegal. The cops did not let go of Pardeshi even after Modi left the city. He was allowed to leave only by late evening. Senior inspector Sunil Ghosalkar of Juhu police station confirmed they detained Pardeshi but he refused to divulge the details of the reason behind his detention.