More than 100 Shiv sainiks vandalised the reception lobby of the Times of India building near CST on Saturday afternoon. The mob was protesting against an article in Maharashtra Times which claimed that Shiv Sena MP from Amravati, Anandrao Adsul, was defecting to the NCP.
The incident took place at around 1.30pm. The Sena activists carrying the party flag and shouting slogans barged into the office after allegedly manhandling the security staff. In a fit of anger, they broke the flower pots in the corridor and ransacked the reception table and the computer on it. They remained in the corridor for about 15 minutes till police arrived.
A team of police from the Azad Maidan police station rushed to the spot. The police managed to arrest at least 29 activists, including Chandrakant Bobade, general secretary of the Co-operative Bank Employees’ Union, on the charge of rioting. A police officer said that the arrested people will be produced before the holiday court on Sunday. Meanwhile, Adsul said he would sue the newspaper for Rs100 crore for claiming that he was defecting to the NCP. He said that such a report, which was published on January 28, had caused immense damage to his reputation, coming as it did at a critical juncture when elections are due. “I have been with the Sena for 40 years and such stories hurt my reputation,” he added.
Incidentally, just last week, Shiv Sena MP from Kalyan-Dombivli, Anand Parajpe, turned up at an NCP press conference being addressed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Though Paranjpe has not officially quit the Sena, there is little doubt that Paranjpe will be with the NCP in time for the 2014 elections.
Meanwhile, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has strongly condemned the attack on the newspaper office and directed the police to take strict action against those responsible.