Union Minister Narayan Rane detained for his slap Uddhav slur, BJP stands by him

MUMBAI: Perhaps for the first time in recent history a Union Minister would most likely be arrested by a state government for sparking off a row by his derogatory comments against the sitting chief minister Uddhav Thackeray during one of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Jan Ashirwad Yatra.

BJP leader and Union minister of micro, small and medium enterprises Narayan Rane was today morning detained at his residence in Sangameshwar of the Ratnagiri district by a team of Nasikh police who are most likely to formally arrest him and either produce before a local magistrate asking for his custody and seek a transfer since they are acting on an FIR filed in Naskih or to take him directly to a magistrate at the place where the offence has been registered.

Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey had earlier in the day issued orders for Rane's arrest after an FIR was registered against him after which he alerted his counterpart in Ratnagiri and formally requesting the Superintendent of Police for local police support. 

Rane had sparked off the controversy saying that it was shameful that the chief minister Uddhav does not know the year of independence and had to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. "Had I been there, I would have given him (CM) a tight slap," Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Raigad district on Monday.

After his remarks, Shiv Sena cadres across the state took to the streets protesting against Rane, and subsequently, several complaints were lodged against Rane at different police stations across the state like Pune, Mahad and by the city Shiv Sena unit chief Sudhakar Badgujar at the Nashik Cyber police station under IPC sections 500 (defamation), 505(2) (mischief), 153-B (1)(c) (remarks likely to cause disharmony, or feeling of enmity or hatred or ill-will), and other IPC sections. 

Anticipating his arrest, Rane's legal team moved the local court in Ratnagiri for an anticipatory bail against the arrest however the court refused to hear the matter citing that the FIR had been filed in Nashik.

Following this a team led by Aniket Nikam who is the son of special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam approached the Bombay High Court with prayers for quashing of the FIRs, however the same is yet to be listed.

Sources say that the Nashik police team which had gone to Rane's residence to detain him had to face heavy resistance since a huge crowd of Rane supporters had gathered around his home to deter the team from entering his house, however with the help of local police the Nashik team was able to detain him and are now reportedly taking him directly to Nashik. 

Reacting to the backlash from Sena party cadres on his remarks, Rane had said on Tuesday that he was not a common man and that he has not committed any crime. "Is it not a crime if someone doesn't know about 15th August? I had said that I would have slapped these were the words and it's not a crime," Rane was quoted by news agencies on Monday.

Meanwhile, the BJP is in a dilemma, on one hand, it said that it does not support Rane's comments but also added that they would stand by him since he was one of their senior party members and was a cabinet rank minister in the centre.

After the row was triggered by Rane, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil has remarked that the law of land was not weak enough to arrest Narayan Rane for his one single statement. 


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