NCP MP arrested for Congress leader’s murder (Fifth Lead)

June 7th, 2009 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 7 (IANS) Three weeks after he was elected to the Lok Sabha, former Maharashtra home minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Padamsinh Patil was Sunday arrested and sent to judicial custody till June 14 for the murder of a cousin-cum-Congress leader in 2006.
The arrest of Patil, a close aide to NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, triggered violence in Osmanabad in Maharashtra from where he won the election in May. Pawar quickly distanced himself from his confidant.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) swooped on Patil early in the morning, accusing him of ordering the killing of Congress leader Pavan Raje Nimbalkar, who allegedly exposed the NCP leader in a sugar cooperative scandal.

A court in Panvel, 100 km from Mumbai, sent him to CBI custody till June 14. Senior Public Prosecutor Ejaz Khan said Patil faces charges of murder and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

Patil was rushed to the J.J. Hospital in Mumbai following complaints of headache, giddiness and hypertension, according to officials. He was taken to court after his discharge.

Briefly interacting with journalists while in custody, a visibly subdued Patil insisted he was being framed. Asked who could be tormenting him, he said: “This, we will have to find out.”

Nimbalkar was shot dead by two gunmen at Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai July 3, 2006, after he was lured there under the pretext of striking a business deal.

The CBI arrested shooter Dineshram M. Tiwari, 37, and his associate Parasmal T. Jain, 47, May 25 this year on charges of killing Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Qazi.

In their confessional statement recorded before a magistrate, the duo also disclosed that they had got a Rs.2.5 million contract to kill social worker and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, a Magsaysay award winner.

The contract to kill Nimbalkar and Hazare was allegedly given by two businessmen, Mohan Shukla and Satish Mandade.

Jain said he accepted the Rs.3 million contract to kill Nimbalkar because he wanted money for his AIDS treatment, he told police. In police custody till Monday, Jain and Tiwari said they refused to kill Hazare.

Jain also reportedly said that he was shown Nimbalkar’s photograph and told that he had to be “eliminated”.

As news of Patil’s arrest became known, his supporters went on a rampage in Osmanabad, stoning and damaging several private vehicles and two state-run buses.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who leads a Congress-NCP coalition government, declined to comment.

NCP chief Pawar said that “any reaction from me might jeopardise the investigation which I don’t want. I have full faith in the judicial system of the country.”

A relative of the victim said the family was never in doubt that the NCP leader was to blame for the murder.

“We had been screaming about the evidence we had but the local police here did nothing,” he said.

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