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Bagwe on party radar following disclosure of criminal cases

Congress has taken cognisance of the flurry of media reports, about the alleged criminal antecedents of Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe, with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan saying he would enquire into the issue.

Updated: May 16, 2010, 11:37 AM IST

Mumbai: Congress has taken cognisance of the flurry of media reports, about the alleged criminal antecedents of Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe, with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan saying he would enquire into the issue.

"I am looking into the matter...there have been several stories in media," Chavan said after reports quoted police sources saying 19 offences were registered against Bagwe. The minister, in turn, has accused police of "gathering proof to harass him."

Differences between Bagwe and Pune police commissioner Satya Pal Singh have come to the fore with Bagwe accusing Singh of "creating hurdles in renewing his passport for the
past two years".

Bagwe blamed Singh, whose transfer he announced in legislature last month, taking even Home Minister RR Patil by surprise, for the inordinate delay in getting his passport renewed.

Bagwe said ever since he told the legislative council that Singh would be transferred and "a more efficient official will be given the job" to cope with the rising crime in Pune, the city police were trying hard to collect evidence against him to harass him.

"The party has taken strong cognisance of the issue and asked the chief minister to enquire into the matter," a senior Congress leader told a news agency.

A party loyalist in Pune also pointed to fresh reports about Bagwe giving false information in the affidavit he filed during last year`s Assembly elections, about cases
registered against him.

Pune`s Deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Lakshmi Gautam has said police received Bagwe’s passport verification form on January 8 this year and sent the report
to the Passport Office on February 8.

"The police have records of 15 cognisable offences registered against Bagwe and four non-cognisable offences," Gautam said.

The cases registered against Bagwe in the jurisdiction of the Pune Police Commissionerate include 13 cases at Khadak police station. Two cases registered with the Yerawada and Deccan Gymkhana police stations are pending in the courts while in other cases, Bagwe has either been discharged or sacquitted.

Bagwe has alleged that a `casteist` conspiracy was
hatched against him by some senior police officials to malign
his image. "After being acquitted in a case in 2009, I have
never been to the passport office," he said.

PTI