Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Gawli held for assaulting journalist

Don-turned-MLA Arun Gawli is taken in a police van after being released on a personal surety by the Agripada police in Mumbai on Monday

Times News Network
Mumbai: The Agripada police on Monday arrested don-tur ned-MLA Arun Gawli and three of his aides, including corporator Sunil Ghate, on charges of assaulting a journalist. He was later released on bail.

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

Gawli held, released on bail

MUMBAI, NOV. 1. The newly-elected Chinchpokli MLA, Arun Gulab Gawli, who faced a string of criminal cases, was today arrested along with his associate on charges of assaulting and threatening a city-based journalist. However, Mr. Gawli and his associate, Sunil Ghate, were later released on bail on a surety bond of Rs. 3,000 each, police sources said.

Two other associates of Mr. Gawli were arrested yesterday on the same charges and released on bail, sources said.

Mr. Gawli and his associates were arrested on a complaint filed by journalist Mateen Hafeez, who alleged that he was slapped by Mr. Gawli and assaulted by his men when he had gone to interview Mr. Gawli at his Dagdi Chawl residence in Agripada area of central Mumbai.

However, Mr. Gawli had lodged a counter complaint alleging that the journalist was carrying a knife. Mr. Gawli's men had taken Mr. Hafeez to the police station and charged him with possession of a sharp instrument. Mr. Hafeez was detained and asked to show his identity. He alleged that Mr. Gawli's men had frisked him before allowing him to meet the MLA. However, Mr. Gawli was upset by his questions and allegedly slapped him. Later, his men bashed him up, the journalist alleged.


The Hindu, November 2, 2004

Gawli held for assault on scribe

Mumbai, Nov. 1: He was in even before he stepped into the House.

Two weeks after being elected an MLA, gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli was arrested for assaulting a reporter even as the new chief minister was sworn in today.

However, he was released on bail later on a surety bond of Rs 3,000 each, sources said.

Police this evening arrested Gawli ? who had several cases of murder and extortion against him but was let off because of lack of evidence ? for attacking Mateen Hafeez, a reporter with an English daily, when he went to Gawli?s residence at Dagdi Chawl to interview him.

Two of Gawli?s men were arrested last night. They were also released on bail.

The MLA was arrested on charges of criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint and causing hurt, deputy commissioner of police Ashok Dongre said.

Hafeez, who had an appointment with Gawli late in the afternoon yesterday, alleged that Gawli slapped him and his bodyguards assaulted him in the course of the interview.

The Telegraph, Calcutta, November 2, 2004

Gawli held, released at once



Express News Service

Mumbai, November 1:

THE arrest of any elected legislator is the stuff of headlines. But when that Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) is don-turned-politician Arun Gawli and the location is Central Mumbai’s Dagdi Chawl, the onlookers, the press, camera crews—and even the police—arrive in droves.

So, when Chinchpokli MLA Arun Gulab Gawli (52) and his lieutenant Sunil Ghate were arrested on Monday evening for threatening and assaulting a journalist on Sunday, on display was some high-voltage melodrama.

The Agripada police searched Gawli’s entire fortress—comprising an old chawl complex, a newer building with a gymnasium and health clinic and a marble temple, all tucked away behind a high gate guarded by private security guards—twice.

But the man was nowhere to be found.

Early in the search, somebody mentioned the chief minister’s swearing-in ceremony. A team was immediately despatched to Raj Bhavan, but Gawli was not there.

There were three police vans in the seedy lane outside the chawl, standing bumper to bumper with the outbroadcasting vans of television channels, causing traffic snarls on both sides of the narrow road.

There were also policewomen—just in case Dagdi Chawl’s women blocked their way.

Finally, at 5.15 pm, he arrived from his sister’s residence somewhere in the vicinity. He was promptly arrested and carted away to the Agripada police station.

Gawli and corporator Ghate were arrested under Sections 506 (1), 341 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code for threatening, illegal detention and assault. The complaint was filed by Mateen Hafeez, a reporter with The Asian Age.

Gawli and Ghate were released after two sureties were provided. Two others, Arun Vasant Sathe (40) and Ajit Sakharam Jadhav (32), were released by court on a cash bail of Rs 3,000 each.

Meanwhile, a delegation of crime reporters met Police Commissioner A N Roy and demanded action against Gawli.

‘‘We have registered a case and have arrested accused persons,’’ was all Roy would say.

History Sheet

In 1997, Gawli’s men allegedly threw a stone at reporter Anindita Ramaswamy, also with The Asian Age. She had apparently asked Gawli if he paid his gang members well
Dagdi Chawl, Gawli’s famously maze-like complex of dingy chawls and stairways, has been relatively accessible to journalists in the last few months, ever since he decided to contest the elections
Having lost in the Parliamentary elections, Gawli was elected MLA by a comfortable margin, beating sitting Congress legislator Madhu Chavan by over 11,000 votes

Monday, November 1, 2004

Gawli beats up Age reporter

By Our Correspondent

Mumbai, Oct. 31: Underworld don Arun Gawli, the newly-elected Maharashtra MLA from Chinchpokli, and his accomplices assaulted a senior correspondent of The Asian Age, Mr Mateen Hafeez, here on Sunday afternoon while the latter was interviewing him.

According to Mr Hafeez, he had fixed up a prior appointment with Mr Gawli on Saturday for an interview. He was given an appointment for Sunday, between 3 pm and 3.30 pm. He reached the don's den, Dagdi Chawl, at 3.10 pm. He was frisked twice at the main gate as well as at the entrance by Gawli's personal security guards. He was cleared on both the accounts.
He was made to wait for 15-20 minutes and was later taken to the terrace where Gawli normally meets people. However, Gawli did not come to meet him at the terrace and kept him waiting for another 15-20 minutes. Later Mr Hafeez was brought to the second floor where Gawli met him.

The senior correspondent asked him a few questions, to which Gawli responded. Mr Hafeez also asked him about the forthcoming 2006 corporation elections, and how Gawli perceived gangster-turned-corporator Sunil Ghate's chances of winning. Two to three cases of extortion have been registered against Mr Ghate with the Thane anti-extortion cell. When Mr Hafeez asked Gawli, "Do you think Ghate will win the elections solely on the basis of his image?", Gawli got irritated and hit him behind his head.
Immediately, one of Gawli's accomplices who was standing outside during the interview, came in and hit and kicked Mr Hafeez in the abdomen. He was then taken to the ground floor in an elevator, where he was again assaulted and abused by other four or five more Gawli men.

Mr Hafeez was then set free. As he came out of the building and had barely walked a little distance, he was again dragged away by three or four Gawli men who took him back to the chawl.

A mob of Gawli supporters had by then gathered at the scene. The Gawli henchmen took Mr Hafeez to a waiting room, where he was joined by the don's security guards. They forced him to sit and started conversing among themselves in Marathi. The only word that Mr Hafeez could understand in the entire conversation was "police."

Mr Hafeez asked the henchmen whether they were going to the police station, and if so he would like to accompany them. While he was been taken to the police station, he was joined by Gawli's security guard.

Before reaching the police station, Mr Hafeez saw somebody thrusting a rampuri knife into the hands of the security guard. Inside the police station, the security guard told the officer on duty that Mr Hafeez had entered the chawl with the rampuri knife. Mr Hafeez also saw Mr Ghate, who threatened him, saying: "I will see how you continue to stay in your home." The officers asked Mr Hafeez to surrender all his belongings to the police.

The correspondent vehemently denied that the rampuri belonged to him. He was later taken to the Agripada police station, where he was asked for his identification. He spoke to Mumbai police commissioner A.N. Roy, who sent personal word to the control room to look into the matter. Later, a deputy commissioner of police and assistant commissioner of police came to the police station and recorded Mr Hafeez's statement.

Later on Sunday, the police registered offences under Section 506(II) against Sunil Ghate and two other of Gawli's men, but not Gawli himself, for criminal intimidation.

Mr Hafeez was later taken to the B.Y.L. Nair Hospital for a physical examination since he complained that he was suffering from backache.

The Asian Age, November 1, 2004

Gawli held, freed on bail

Mumbai, November 1

Underworld-don-turned-MLA Arun Gawli was today arrested on charges of assaulting a city-based journalist. Gawli was granted bail at the Agripada police station, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dongre said here. Gawli, who runs the Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS), was arrested along with his aide Sunil Ghate, a Corporator with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), for allegedly assaulting Mateen Hafeez Ansari, a reporter with The Asian Age. — UNI

The Tribune, Online Edition, November 1, 2004