BJP leader booked for ‘offensive comments’ against Mumbai Mayor

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Hours after he was booked, former minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashish Shelar appeared before the Marine Drive Police Station to answer charges of ‘objectionable comments’ against Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, here on Thursday.

Shelar, while referring to the recent gas cylinder blast in the BDD Chawls, Worli, on November 30 had made the remarks. In the blast a young man, his wife and their infant daughter were killed, while their 5-year-son was injured and survived the blast.

Slamming the Mayor a couple of days ago for her alleged delayed response to the tragedy, Shelar had said at a media conference (in Marathi) whether she was ‘sleeping’ for 72 hours.

Finding the expressions offensive, Pednekar wrote to Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil and lodged a complaint late on Wednesday against Shelar, and along with several women municipal corporators, met Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale, while the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission Chairperson Rupali Chakankar took note and sought a reply from the Mumbai Police.

Claiming he had done nothing wrong and he was being framed in false charges, Shelar went to the Marine Drive Police Station to file his statement amid a huge show of strength and accompanied by several seniors like Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar, Mumbai BJP Chief M.P. Lodha and city MLA Atul Bhatkalkar.

Darekar, Lodha and Bhatkalkar also attacked the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government and accused it of ‘misusing power’ to book Shelar, but said they would not be cowed down by such tactics and fight it out.

Shelar has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 354 (outraging modesty of woman) and 509 (word, gesture or act insulting a woman’s modesty), but termed the action against him as “politically motivated” and vindictive.

Shelar had targeted the Mayor saying if patients are deprived of timely treatment they feel unsafe at municipal hospitals.

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