Pics: Rons Bantwal
Mumbai, Oct 21: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was arrested at Ratnagiri early Tuesday morning for Sunday's brutal attack on north Indian railway exam candidates by MNS workers.
He was being brought to Mumbai in a convoy and is being produced before a suburban magistrate's court in Bandra and his police custody will be sought, a senior police officer said.
Raj was arrested in the wee hours of today from Ratnagiri district by a team of officers from Mumbai police while he was on a tour in Konkan region.
A case was registered against Raj Thackeray and MNS activists for their alleged involvement in the attack on north Indian candidates appearing for a recruitment exam conducted by the Railways in suburb Kherwadi, city police commissioner Hasan Gaffoor said.
"We did not know whether he would come back to the city or not. Therefore the arrest in Ratnagiri," he said.
MNS activists involved in the attempted assault on candidates have also been arrested and police custody would be sought for all of them, the commissioner said.
Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said Raj’s arrest was not under any political pressure. “Rule of law is in place in the state,” he said.
Thackeray has been charged under sections 153, 353, 336, 425 and 427 of IPC, police sources said.
"Some of the charges are bailable and others are non-bailable and it is up to the court to give the police custody that we will be seeking," Gaffoor said.
Preventive arrests of MNS activists have also been made in large number in order to maintain peace across the city, he said.
While security has been tightened in Mumbai, incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the city.
Taxies parked at Tardeo in South Mumbai were damaged by some unknown miscreants who fled on motorcycles, police said.
Two separate incidents were reported in the North-West suburban of Borivali where miscreants attempted to burn trucks, they added.
Miscreants attacked a toll booth located in the North-West suburban of Mulund and set one of the counters on fire, police said.
There were also reports of some unidentified men throwing stones at the suburban residence of Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam.
The arrest of the MNS chief comes against the backdrop of mounting pressure on the Maharashtra government to rein in Thackeray and his activists.
Earlier, a combative Raj had justified Sunday's attack on north Indians and warned the state that it will have to "regret" the consequences in the event of his arrest.
"Arrest me and be ready to bear the consequences.... you will have to regret," Thackeray, who was attending a ceremony at Bahadursheikh Naka in Chiplun in the state, said.
"If Raj is arrested, entire Maharashtra will be set on fire," he threatened.
On Monday, Mumbai police also received arrest warrant issued by a Jharkhand court on September 30 in a case filed by advocate Amit Kumar against Thackeray for hurting religious sentiments of north Indians by making derogatory remarks about Chhath festival. The petition, filed on February 2, 2008, quoted Thackeray as describing Chhath as "a drama".
MNS chief Raj Thackeray has moved Jharkhand High Court seeking a stay on a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a court in Jamshedpur. The High Court in Ranchi has posted the matter for hearing on October 25, his lawyer Akhilesh Choubey said.