Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) | In a massive political setback for BJP lawmaker Nitesh Rane – the son of Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane, a court in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg on Thursday rejected his anticipatory bail application.
Advocate Sangram Desai said that since the bail plea has been declined, they would move the Bombay High Court soon after getting the copy of the court orders.
The bail rejection order was pronounced by District and Sessions Principal Judge Shirishkumar V. Hande this evening after a tough legal battle between Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat and the defence team since Tuesday.
Along with Nitesh Rane, 39, – who has gone “incommunicado” – the bail plea of one of his associates and co-accused Gotya Sawant, was also rejected in an assault case.
However, advocate Desai said it was wrong to describe Nitesh Rane as an “absconder”- though the Maharashtra Police are now likely to step up efforts to arrest him.
This is the second major embarrassment in the past five months for the Rane family – one of the prime political clans in the coastal Konkan.
On August 24, the Union Minister was arrested amid high drama, before being released on bail, for his infamous “slap-slur” against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, sparking off a massive row between the BJP and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Shortly after the court verdict, the Shiv Sena erupted in celebrations, bursting fire-crackers, raising victory slogans and cheering the outcome.
Known for brashness, Rane Jr. had filed the plea in the Sindhudurg court for reliefs against any coercive action against him in an attempt to murder case lodged against him in his political bastion, Kankavli.
The complainant is Santosh Parab who said that some time ago, he was riding on his motorcycle when a SUV without registration plates knocked him down, a person jumped out, stabbed him in the chest, and sped off.
Later, Parab, 44, complained to the police that before the assailant left, he was heard saying that “we must inform Gotya Sawant and Nitesh Rane”.
Based on the complaint, the Sindhudurg police registered a FIR charging Nitesh Rane and others with attempt to murder, common intent, etc, and served a notice to them.
Rane Jr. subsequently responded to the notice and was questioned by the police for over two hours last Saturday.
The Rane family and the BJP have alleged that the entire issue is fabricated and politically motivated to influence the elections to the board of directors of the district bank, which were due on Thursday, and the recent verbal duel between Nitesh Rane and Maharashtra Ministers Aditya Thackeray and Nawab Malik in which hens, cats and pigs were invoked.
In his bail plea, among other things, Nitesh Rane said he was busy canvassing for the BJP candidates standing for the district bank polls and any coercive action would affect his work.
He also assured he would be available for investigations whenever needed by the police, and contended that there was nothing to prove his involvement in the attempt to murder case, etc.
Nevertheless, since the past few days, he suddenly became “incommunicado”, his phone switched off, his aides denying knowledge of his whereabouts even as the police were on the lookout for him.
On December 29, the Maharashtra Police even served a notice to Union Minister Narayan Rane and called him to join the probe, but the latter declined saying he was ready to engage in a video-conference call with the investigators.
Questioned on his son’s current bearings, the former Chief Minister flared up, saying: “I am not a fool to disclose where he (Nitesh) is.”
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