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‘Eknath Shinde made me a criminal’: BJP MLA reveals why he shot Shiv Sena leader

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde “made him a criminal” said BJP MLA Ganpat Gaikwad after shooting Shiv Sena leader Mahesh Gaikwad. Read here the rivalry that led to the shooting and the BJP MLA’s allegations.

(L to R) BJP MLA Ganpat Gaikwad, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Shiv Sena leader Mahesh Gaikwad. (Photos: Facebook, PTI)

Maharashtra BJP MLA Ganpat Gaikwad, who shot Shiv Sena leader Mahesh Gaikwad, put the blame for the incident on Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Talking to a news channel over the phone before his arrest on Friday, Ganpat Gaikwad said Eknath Shinde “made me a criminal”.

In the audio clip of the telephonic conversation circulated after the incident, the BJP MLA from Kalyan East Ganpat said, “My son was manhandled at the police station and my land was forcibly taken from me. If Eknath Shinde continues as Maharashtra Chief Minister, all we will see is the rise of criminals. He has made a good person like me a criminal today.”

The BJP MLA alleged that his son was being “beaten up” at the police station and his shooting Mahesh Gaikwad was in retaliation for it.

“I was frustrated and that’s why I opened fire. I have no regrets. If someone beats up my son at the police station, what do you want me to do? I didn’t mean to kill them,” said Ganpat Gaikwad.

As per a report by news agency PTI, he also claimed that he fired five rounds at Mahesh Gaikwad. However, police said ten rounds of bullets were fired as per the preliminary probe.

HOW LAND DISPUTE LED TO SHOOTING

Ganpat Gaikwad said there were some legal issues over a piece of land, but they won the matter in court. However, Mahesh Gaikwad occupied it by force, he alleged.

The MLA said his son had gone to the police station in Ulhasnagar to lodge a complaint concerning the land.

Thane Additional Police Commissioner Datta Shinde said Ganpat Gaikwad, his son and Mahesh Gaikwad, along with a few others had gone to the police station. Relying on the CCTV footage of the incident, he said there was “no question” of the BJP MLA firing in self-defence.

“There was no argument or provocation. But he (Ganpat Gaikwad) aimed and shot them,” said Shinde.

As per a preliminary probe, ten rounds of bullets were fired and six bullets were removed from Mahesh Gaikwad’s body at the Jupiter Hospital in Thane, added the senior cop.

Police have arrested Ganpat Gaikwad, Harshal Kene, (34) and Sandeep Sarwankar (45), and formed four teams to trace others. They have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections, including 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

A Thane court remanded them to police custody till February 14 on Saturday.

‘EKNATH SHINDE WILL BETRAY BJP’ SAYS MLA

Meanwhile, Ganpat Gaikwad also accused Eknath Shinde’s son and Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde of putting up boards and grabbing credit for the work done by him. “They have levelled a charge of corruption against me. How much money did Eknath Shinde make in that corruption, Shinde should tell,” he said.

He also claimed that Eknath Shinde will “betray” the BJP in the same way that he did to Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and called for the Chief Minister’s resignation.

“Shinde saheb betrayed Uddhav (Thackeray) saheb, he will also betray BJPâ€æ he owes me crores of rupees. Shinde should resign if Maharashtra is to be well-managed. This is my humble request to Devendra Fadnavis (deputy CM) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Ganpat Gaikwad was quoted as saying by PTI.

Shrikant Shinde, meanwhile, said on Saturday that the CCTV footage of the shooting incident is in the public domain and the “truth will come out”. He added, “A probe is on and we expect the guilty to be punished.”

Earlier in the day, Eknath Shinde had visited Mahesh Gaikwad who received an emergency life-saving surgery after the shooting. After visiting the Shiv Sena leader who is currently battling for his life, Eknath Shinde said the shooting was a “very unfortunate incident”.

Ulhasnagar, where the shooting took place, falls in the Kalyan parliamentary constituency represented by Shrikant Shinde.

There is a history of rivalry between the leaders of the Shiv Sena and the BJP in Thane despite the two parties being part of the ruling ‘Mahayuti’ coalition in the state.

As per a PTI report, in December 2023, following the BJP’s victory in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan elections, Ganpat Gaikwad demanded that the BJP field its candidate from Kalyan for the Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier in June 2023, BJP leaders passed a resolution not to support Shrikant Shinde’s candidature after a case was registered against one of their workers over a conflict with Shiv Sena workers.

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