Maha: Amid high-voltage drama, Mumbai Police arrest 'farmer couple' Rana

Mumbai, April 23 (IANS) Capping off two days of high-voltage political drama, the Mumbai Police on Saturday evening arrested Independent Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband Badnera MLA Ravi Rana, soon after they suo-moto dropped their plans to storm Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's residence.
 
Maha: Amid high-voltage drama, Mumbai Police arrest 'farmer couple' Rana

Mumbai, April 23 (IANS) Capping off two days of high-voltage political drama, the Mumbai Police on Saturday evening arrested Independent Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband Badnera MLA Ravi Rana, soon after they suo-moto dropped their plans to storm Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's residence.

A police officer said that they have registered a case invoking Sections 153(A) and Sec. 34 of Indian Penal Code, along with Sec. 37(1) 135 of Bombay Police Act, and further investigations are underway against the duo.

The charges against the couple -- Navneet Rana, 36 and Ravi Rana, 40, who describe themselves as 'farmers' - pertain to disturbing peace and order, and making inflammatory statements, by the Khar Police Station following a complaint by Shiv Sena activists.

In a counter move, the Ranas also submitted a complaint to Deputy Commissioner of Police Manjunath Shinge against various Shiv Sena leaders like Thackeray, Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Transport Minister Anil Parab and 500-600 Shiv Sainiks.

The fast-paced developments came soon after the duo was detained by a team of Khar Police Station and later placed under arrest with plans to produce them before a Magistrate Court on Sunday.

Earlier, the Ranas claimed that they had called off their plans to go and recite Hanuman Chalisa at the Chief Minister's private residence 'Matoshri' in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mumbai on Sunday.

The duo also launched a scathing attack against CM Thackeray labelling him as a 'Shani' (Saturn) for the state who had forgotten his 'Hindutva' ideals, not attending office for 2 years, ignoring the administration and only conspiring how to trap political rivals in fake cases, etc.

Reverting to its aggressive roots, hundreds of Shiv Sena and Yuva Sena men and women activists virtually laid a siege at the politician couple's home and prevented them from stepping out of their Khar flat.

An elated Yuva Sena leader Varun Sardesai said it was "the victory of the party and the Ranas could not move out of their home" let alone go to the CM's home.

"They have not succeeded in their plans. They took an escape route from the PM's visit to hide their failure. We demand a public apology from them for their objectionable statements against the CM. We have shown them our strength. They are cowards who ran away," thundered Sardesai.

At the Ranas' home, there were heated exchanges with the police who wanted them to come to the police station, but the couple insisted the police should produce a warrant, with the entire drama streamed live on social media.

"We are elected representatives, but under Thackeray's rule, we have been forcibly taken to the police station. There's no law and order here. Thackeray has sent the Sena goons who have gathered outside our home since yesterday. If this is what we are facing, what justice can the commoners expect, the masses will teach them a lesson and Lord Hanuman also," Navneet Rana screamed at times.

Jubilant men and women Shiv Sainiks celebrated with drums, distributing sweets and dancing, and warned that the Shiv Sena has shown its power and "people like (Ranas) these come and go" and the party doesn't bother about them.

Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil warned that if they (Ranas) wanted to chant Hanuman Chalisa, they should do it at their home and not someone else's (CM's) house.

Chief Spokespersons - Atul Londhe of Congress and Mahesh Tapase of Nationalist Congress Party - dismissed the Ranas as "a dramatic couple" who had been sponsored by the BJP, and have come to Mumbai to foment trouble with the aim of creating a law-and-order situation to clamp President's Rule in the state.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut declared in Nagpur that the Sainiks would not keep quiet, and the Ranas should prepare to go to the crematorium, while Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane hit back advising Raut to get ready for his funeral rites.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders like Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis (Assembly) and Pravin Darekar (Council), Sudhir Mungantiwar and others slammed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and termed the arrest of the Ranas as arising out of vendetta politics though they had withdrawn their agitation plans.

Other leaders like Darekar alleged that the law-and-order situation in the state has collapsed and President's Rule should be imposed, while Rane and Kirit Somaiya said they will visit the Ranas at the police station later on Saturday night.

--IANS

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