MNS men beat up Congress workers for giving cash to voters

Apr 16, 2014, 09:43 IST | Salil Urunkar

After they seized voter lists, Rs 30,000 cash and flyers promoting Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam from the three accused, irate MNS members thrashed them, before calling up the police

The election watch unit’s flying squads have little control when corrupt political parties are bent on bribing the electorate for votes. In yet another such incident, three Congress workers were nabbed on Thursday with cash and voter lists in Rasta Peth area at around 3.30 pm.

A cop tries to stop MNS corporator Rupali Patil-Thombare from hitting the accused (below) at party candidate Deepak Paigude’s office. Pics/Mohan Patil

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers ‘seized’ three bags containing Rs 30,000 in cash, voter lists, pamphlets of Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam, and two notebooks with names of groups and individuals who were allegedly given money. The accused and the materials were handed over to Samarth police.

Violent turn: A policeman tries to break up the beating that MNS corporator Rupali Patil-Thombare (back to camera) and other party workers gave one of the accused, at party candidate Deepak Paigude’s office in Rasta Peth. Pics/Mohan Patil

MNS corporator Rupali Patil-Thombare and advocate Sachin Pawar claimed that the three confessed to working for Kadam.
“The Congress workers identified themselves as Dr Surendra Martand Vedpathak, Abhinandan Appasaheb Muke and Uday Chandrakant Patkar, all working in different institutes of Bharti Vidyapeeth (BVP), which is owned by Kadam,” she said.
MNS workers Prakash Pawar and Sandesh Kathawate who nabbed the workers claimed to mid-day that there were a total 15 Congress workers distributing money and they had around Rs 10 lakh with them. But these claims have not been verified.

Pawar said, “I got a call from a resident about Congress workers giving money to them. We rushed to the spot, Poona Café near KEM Hospital, where the Congress workers were waiting. We tried to catch them but 12 fled the spot with bags of cash. We managed to nab three, who were speaking in Marathi in the typical dialect of Sangli natives. They were carrying two notebooks and three black bags.”

Kathawate said, “There were around Rs 30,000 in the bag in 1000-rupee denomination. The accused had put a checkmark in front of the names of voters who’d been given money. The notebook has names of groups and individuals from Somwar Peth, Rasta Peth and Mangalwar Peth area who were given money.”

The accused were taken to MNS candidate Deepak Paigude’s office and thrashed. Later, the Samarth police was called. The cops alerted the election officials, who reached the spot and video-recorded the proceedings. Paigude and his supporters reached the station and demanded strict action against the workers. “We are staging a dharna at the police station until cops take strict action in this case,” said Paigude.

Nabbed workers thrashed
As news spread, hundreds of MNS workers gathered at the office of party candidate Deepak Paigude. The irate mob then took the law into their hands, and beat up the accused black and blue. Even after Samarth police reached the Rasta Peth office and took the accused in custody, corporator Rupali Patil-Thombare and party workers did not stop and continued vehemently with the beating. “MNS workers will remain vigilant on Thursday and Friday night as we suspect that Congress will resort to illegal means to secure their victory in this election. We won’t let them use money power and if they try to distribute money to voters we will retaliate in MNS style,” Rupali said.

Poll-Mell: (Above) MNS workers gathered at Samarth police station to demand action against the accused; (below) the cash recovered from the three accused

Dattatreya Patil, in-charge of Samarth police station, said, “We have lodged an offence under IPC section 171 (e) against the trio. We have informed the Election Commission about this case. Further investigations will be done as per the court’s direction,” Patil said.

Kadam claims ignorance
Questioned about the incident during his press conference at Congress Bhavan, Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam claimed that he was unaware of any such cash-distribution incident. “I don’t know what has happened,” is all he said.

The accused

(From left) Surendra Vedpathak (51), a resident of Saikrupa society in Dhankawadi, is the vice-principal of a college of BVP; Uday Patkar (33), who works as a professor in an engineering college of BVP, is a resident of Kunal Nest Manik Colony in Chinchwad; Abhinandan Muke works as a lab technician in another BVP institute

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