Times News Network
The journalist was beaten up while interviewing him at Dagdi Chawl on Sunday afternoon. Gawli is learnt to have been incensed with the reporter’s line of questioning. Gawli and Ghate were brought to the police station amid a huge mob of supporters.
Police arrest Gawli after a six-hour chase
Mumbai: The police on Monday claimed that don-turned-MLA Arun Gawli, and his associate corporator Sunil Ghate, had to be chased for more than six hours until they were tracked down at Gawli’s sister’s house, located on the Dagdi Chawl premises.
While Gawli and Ghate entered the police station, the supporters, who comprised women and senior citizens from Agripada, shouted slogans and demonstrated before the police. Some of them even told the media that the two had surrendered on their own. However, Gawli and Ghate were asked to furnish a personal surety and booked for a bailable offence. This is the seventh time Gawli had been arrested in 11 months.
Two of Gawli’s aides, Arun Sathe (40) and Ajit Jadhav (32), who were arrested for assaulting a journalist from a national daily, were booked under a nonbailable charge and produced before a metropolitan magistrate on Monday.
When the journalist registered a complaint with the Agripada police against Gawli that night, the two aides were nabbed by the cops but they refrained from arresting the MLA himself until the media raised the issue on Monday.
Ironically, only minutes prior to Gawli’s arrest, police commissioner A N Roy had said in a press briefing that the law was equal for everyone and that the police would consider the matter with extra seriousness since it involved a journalist. Incidentally, this is the second time that Gawli’s men have misbehaved with the media. In 1998, a woman journalist had to face the wrath of the don after her newspaper carried articles criticising Gawli. She was pelted with stones and soda bottles. The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, which was in power at the time, had promptly arrested Gawli.
Meanwhile, the journalist, accompanied by his relatives, met the commissioner on Monday afternoon and requested police protection. He also alleged that the cops at the beat chowky opposite Dagdi Chawl had refused to listen to him and had instead taken down a statement against him, as directed by Gawli’s aides. Besides, he was even forbidden by the police to make a phone call to his friends or relatives, he claimed.
Senior advocate Majeed Memon said if the journalist was disallowed from communicating with his relatives, the cops’ conduct would violate SC regulation. “The SC has ruled on how police officers are expected to conduct themselves when a crime is reported. The direction says even a suspect will be allowed to inform his relative. The journalist in this case is a complainant, so the cops’ action is really shocking.’’
Gawli and his aides have been charged under Sections 341 and 506 for wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation.
The Times of India, November 2, 2004