Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai/Pune: Even as Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) continues with acts on vandalism at toll booths in the state, the Pune Rural police has registered two FIRs against party chief Raj Thackeray and others for instigating violence.
The FIRs have been lodged for vandalism at the Khed-Shivapur toll plaza on National Highway towards Satara and at the Kavadi Pat toll plaza on Pune-Solapur highway.
Yesterday, Mumbai police detained at least 25 MNS activists after they vandalised a toll booth at the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra-Worli sea link.
Police in Rajgad and Loni-Kalbhor towns in Pune district booked Thacekray and 17 others for instigating violence and abetting rioters who have been vandalising toll booths in different parts of the state.
Cases have been filed also in connection with toll-booth violence on the Pune-Bangalore highway in the past couple of days in which some state transport buses were damaged.
The attacks on toll booths run by the government or authorised private agencies were launched Sunday night in at least eight cities across the state.
Over the past few days, more than 70 political activists have been taken into custody even as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister RR Patil appealed against violence and targeting of toll booths.
Reports said that the Maharashtra cabinet may take a decision on reducing toll rates at a meeting today.
The latest attack came after a speech by Raj Thackeray, who called upon people to refuse to pay toll and oppose any force by toll collectors and not bother about traffic jams resulting from their protests.
There are 145 toll booths in the state, including 28 run by the National Highways Authority of India, 61 by the Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation and 56 by the Maharashtra Public Works Department.
Initiated during the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party regime in 1995, the daily average collection at each toll booth is around Rs 9-10 million, contributing significantly to the state exchequer.
(With IANS inputs)