Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane's son Nitesh and eight others were Tuesday arrested after they smashed a toll booth on the Goa-Maharashtra border and assaulted three toll operators, police said.
Nitesh tried to impersonate his brother, Congress MP Nilesh Rane, to dodge paying toll at the booth and later the police who tried to arrest him after the incident.
An official said Nitesh was on his way to Goa when his entourage was stopped at a toll booth in Dhargal as part of a new entry toll system put in place by the Goa government for vehicles registered outside the state.
Enraged, Rane first tried to impersonate his brother but later, along with eight others who were part of his entourage, tried to assault the occupants of the toll booth and smash the boom barrier and the toll operator's cabin as well.
Rane and the other accused were later picked up by the police from a hotel in Calangute. The hotel is operated by a company owned by the Rane family.
"Nitesh Rane and eight others have been arrested under sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code," the official said.
Nitesh is no stranger to controversies.
In December 2009, Nitesh was arrested by the Mumbai police for allegedly leading a violent mob demonstrating outside the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) against water cuts in the city.
Nitesh and 24 others were arrested by the Azad Maidan police and booked them for rioting, obstructing a public servant from doing his duty and causing damage to public property.
In August this year, the Swabhimaan Sanghatana chief's controversial tweet against Gujaratis living in the metropolis landed him in trouble with the Maharashtra legislative council asking the state government to initiate action against him as it may create "social discord".
Targetting Mumbai's Gujaratis who support Narendra Modi, Nitesh had tweeted, "Veg skies, veg hospitals, veg housing societies ... soon veg Mumbai! Either Gujjus go back to Gujarat or they turn Mumbai into Gujarat ... Red alert."
He had previously attacked author-columnist Shobhaa De's ‘satirical’ tweet calling for Mumbai to be accorded statehood. Nitesh threatened the author, tweeting, “Rather than twitter, Shoba De shud say the same thing on the streets of Mumbai openly after which she won't be left with any 'shoba' forever (sic).”
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