Mumbai: The case of an alleged murder attempt on a party activist by Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane’s son Nitesh took another twist Friday with the medical report of the victim not showing a bullet injury.
Nitesh said he was not guilty and being framed in the case, while the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the matter.
Dr Sudhir Chatterji of Hiranandani Hospital told reporters Friday evening that the victim, Shamim Jamaluddin Shaikh alias Chintu, admitted to the hospital Thursday, had undergone examination.
"We have done an X-ray, and CT Scan, and we don’t think it is a bullet injury. His condition is stable," he added.
Additional Police Commissioner (West) Amitabh Gupta declined to comment over the fresh developments.
However, police officials hinted that in view of the preliminary medical report findings, the investigators may review the serious charge of attempt to murder slapped on Nitesh Rane.
Even as the police probe report was awaited, the state political scene heated up with Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse and state BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar demanding a CBI probe into what they felt was "a very serious issue".
Attacking the government for delayed action against the son of the powerful Congress leader, Khadse accused the government of trying to protect him (Nitesh).
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that both the chief minister (Ashok Chavan) and the home minister (RR Patil) were silent on the issue and police was not enquiring into the matter.
"When Shiv Sainiks attacked the office of a news channel in Vikroli, they were promptly booked under Section 307, and kept behind bars for almost a month. The fact that no action has been initiated against the minister’s son shows RR Patil’s double standards. The law must be equal to all," Raut, a Sena MP, said.
Incidentally, Raut’s brother Sunil Raut was arrested for vandalising the news channel’s office in Nov, 2009.
On his part, Chavan chose to brush off media questions, stating that he was not in the city, and hence unaware of the facts.
"I will collect information about the incident before making a comment," he said.
About the opposition parties’ allegations of political pressure from his government on the police, he said: "There is no question of government interference in this. The police will investigate the incident and the truth will emerge"."
Nitesh’s elder brother and Congress MP from Sindhudurg Nileh Rane rushed to his sibling’s rescue and visited Khar Police station accompanied by state Textiles and Minorities Affairs` Minister Naseem Khan and others.
"It is a politically motivated incident and the police are probing the incident. The truth would come out soon," he said.
Nitesh Rane also denied the incident stating that he had not met Shaikh and had armed security and hence did not need to carry a weapon. "It is a conspiracy to defame me and my organization," he said.
Referring to the allegations, he tweeted on Twitter: "Can`t trap a tiger using a mousetrap... Better luck next time!!"
Nitesh, who floated the NGO Swabhiman Sanghatana and aggressively launched a campaign against drinking water theft and other issues, was accused by Sheikh of assaulting and firing upon him at the party’s office in Khar Thursday evening.
Sheikh, who was with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena before joining Swabhiman Sanghatana, claimed he managed to escape from the Khar office and somehow reached Hirananadani Hospital in Powai after contacting the police.
Khar police lodged a complaint against Nitesh and two associates, Nitin Vardhanarayan and Zahid Shaikh on the basis of Shaikh’s statement.