It was a birthday bash of a different kind. An advertisement agency employee was allegedly kidnapped and brutally beaten up by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers at Dombivli.
The victim had tried to dislodge illegal hoardings congratulating NCP leader Vandar Patil on his birthday. Tilak Nagar police have arrested six accused.
However, the owner of the ad agency Assan Balani claims he continues to get threats from Patil, demanding he reinstate the billboards. According to cops, the incident occurred on September 10 around 7.30 pm at Patari Pul, Kalyan (East).
Pawan Advertising — an agency authorised by Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) — has erected more than 100 hoardings in areas under Central Railway and KDMC jurisdiction.
Vandar Patil’s followers had allegedly usurped all the signboards and put up their congratulatory messages for their leader on them.
At the time of the fracas four Pawan Advertising employees were removing the hoardings. Suddenly more than 12 people appeared. They started to thrash the ad agency workers. Three of the victims managed to flee, but the assailants succeeded in nabbing one — Mukhtar Ali Salim Ali Khan (26).
They allegedly took him to Patil’s office at Vadavali village where the attackers thrashed Khan in the leader’s presence.
The following day, Khan’s employer Assan Balani approached Tilak Nagar police, who registered an FIR and arrested six persons under sections 365, 143, 147, 149, 323 and 504 of IPC.
“We have arrested six accused and are searching for six others,” said Vilas Dhaigude, assistant police inspector, Tilak Nagar. Khan has been admitted to a private hospital at Ulhasnagar.
“I am grateful to cops for initiating action against the culprits, but I continue to receive threats from Patil, who wants the hoardings to be put up again,” Balani told MiD DAY.
“My business suffers because of politicians. During festive season they grab all my hoardings. An NCP MLA at Ambernath has usurped a billboard since a month ahead of his birthday. I have lodged several complaints with police and KDMC, but all in vain,” Balani added.
The other side
“I celebrated my birthday for the first time. My followers have certain sentiments towards me and this particular day. They opposed when the ad agency employees were removing the hoardings. I have never threatened Balani. I have never had any contact with this agency or its owner. He is telling lies,” Vandar Patil told MiD DAY.