Goa CM Monohar Parrikar has denied that Goa police had soft-pedalled the case because of the involvement of a high-profile politician's son, but confessed that Narayan Rane did call him after hearing about his son's arrest.
"(Narayan) Rane did call me. He requested me to look into the matter and if possible release Nitesh. I asked him to approach the court," Parrikar said, talking to reporters here. "He said 'please look into it'. I told him that he will have to move in a legal way because it was a crime-related issue," Parrikar told a press conference.
Rane senior's reaction was "very positive" and he did not express anger or reacted with arrogance after his request was turned down, Parrikar added.
Nitesh, who leads Swabhiman Sanghatana, a Mumbai-based outfit, was arrested alongwith eight others last night over the incident.
Parrikar also said he had taken an assurance from Rane that vehicles registered in Goa passing through his stronghold of Konkan region in Maharashtra would not be harmed by Nitesh's supporters, who have in the past resorted to strong-arm tactics.
Rane's assurance comes at a time when media reports said five people allegedly belonging to Nitesh Rane's NGO Swaabhiman were arrested for vandalising Goa-bound overnight buses in Borivali, near Mumbai, earlier in the day.
Goa may ban private bodyguards accompanying VVIPs, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday, a day after Maharashtra Minister Narayan Rane's son Nitesh and eight of his entourage were arrested for smashing a toll booth and assaulting toll operators.
Parrikar told reporters that Narayan Rane called him after his son's arrest, and that he took an assurance from the Maharashtra politician that vehicles from Goa will not be vandalised by his supporters.
"We may have to stop private bodyguards from coming with VVIPs. Police bodyguards are fine but private ones will not be allowed. They were the ones who actually did the damage at the toll booth," Parrikar said.
On Tuesday, Nitesh, who was travelling to Goa with his entourage, was asked to pay entry toll at a booth. Enraged, Nitesh's supporters assaulted three toll operators and vandalised the toll booth at Dhargal village on the Goa-Maharashtra border.
Nitesh, who was one of the nine people arrested, was released early Wednesday on conditional bail.