Investigations into the communal violence that culminated in the killing of IT-graduate Mohsin Shaikh have revealed that Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) president Dhananjay Desai (in pic) had made a provocative speech in Hadapsar on January 19. It has also been revealed that Desai had met with HRS activists on the day of Mohsin’s murder.

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At the meeting, he provoked them to go on a rampage — a directive that ultimately led to the murder of the techie. He was also the man behind the distribution of inflammatory pamphlets in Hadapsar, Camp and Loni Kalbhor areas in March, by HRS activists.

Desai was produced in court on Wednesday afternoon, amidst heavy police cover. PICS/MOHAN PATIL
Desai was produced in court on Wednesday afternoon, amidst heavy police cover. Pics/Mohan Patil

Desai was produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate PD Zambre on Wednesday afternoon, amidst heavy police  cover. The court remanded him in police custody till June 12.

While demanding seven days of police custody for Desai, Public Prosecutor B R Patil said, “Desai had made a provocative speech on January 19 at Manjri budruk area in Hadapsar. He organised a meeting with his activists on the day Mohsin was murdered in Hadapsar area. Desai instigated his men to go on a rampage in Hadapsar area.”

“The gravity of the crime is bigger. Police have to seize Desai’s mobile phone and the weapons and vehicles used in the crime. Hence, his custodial interrogation is necessary,” Patil said. Rejecting the request for Desai’s custody, Defense Counsel Atul Malviya said, “The remand report from the police does not mention Desai’s role in the murder of Mohsin Shaikh. The FIR registered in connection with this incident is against unknown persons and Desai had no role in the crime.”

Assistant Commissioner of Police Gopinath Patil, the investigating officer in this case, told the court that so far, 22 persons had been arrested in Mohsin’s murder case. “We have seized eight motorcycles and 16 mobile handsets from the arrested suspects,” Patil said.

Defending Desai, Advocate Chetan Bhutada argued that the Hadapsar police had refused to lodge an FIR related to the offensive posts. If the police had acted on time, violence could have been avoided, he said.