Maharashtra Police today arrested Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Narayan Rane in connection with objectionable remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Addressing a function on Monday, Rane said that it’s shameful that the chief minister doesn’t know the year of Independence and asked others during this speech. “If I would have been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap,” said Rane.
His remarks soon went viral and an FIR was registered against him by some Shiv Sena workers. Many Shiv Sena workers clashed with the BJP workers. The BJP office was also attacked in Nashik, Amravati and other parts of the state.
With his arrest, Narayan Rane has become the first sitting Union Cabinet minister to be arrested in the last 20 years by state police and the third sitting union minister to be arrested by state police ever. The two earlier ministers were late Murasoli Maran and TR Baalu who were picked up at midnight by the Chennai Police in a dramatic turn of events in June 2001. The Chennai Police had arrested former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi along with Maran and Baalu in connection with a Rs 12 crore ‘flyover scam’. They were then remanded to judicial custody till July 10. Notably, Maran, then Union Industry Minister, had sustained injuries in a scuffle with police during the arrest and was admitted to a hospital. TR Baalu had also sustained minor injuries. Notably, Maran was the nephew of Karunanidhi.
The footage of the arrest, broadcast by Sun TV, had shown police manhandling Karunanidhi, Maran and Baalu. Reportedly, both Maran and Baalu had tried to prevent police from arresting Karunanidhi and had crashed their cars to stop police. The next day, then Union Minister of Defence George Fernandez had visited Chennai and the two union ministers were also released on bail.
While Rane has also moved Bombay High Court after a Ratnagiri court rejected his anticipatory bail application. Rane, however, has not received a favourable verdict from the HC as well.