Mumbai court acquits 28 Shiv Sena workers in 2005 rioting case

Nearly 19 years after they were booked for rioting in Mumbai, a special court on Wednesday acquitted 28 workers and leaders of Shiv Sena (then undivided) observing that there are several discrepancies in the prosecution case.

Among those acquitted include Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Anil Desai and Ravindra Waikar, who recently joined the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

The special judge for MPs/MLAs cases, R N Rokade, acquitted the accused noting several discrepancies in the prosecution case.

Different prosecution witnesses narrated different stories, no medical evidence was brought on record; police had not seized items related to the destruction of properties, the court stated.

As per the prosecution, a rally was organised in suburban Dadar on July 24, 2005, after Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane was expelled from the party.

Rane is currently with BJP who is a member of the Union cabinet.

Supporters of Rane and Uddhav Thackeray were holding rallies in Dadar on July 24, 2005, when Sena supporters disrupted a gathering addressed by him, leading to a scuffle between the two rival groups, as per the prosecution.

Some Shiv Sainiks were injured in the scuffle. They later gheraoed Dadar police station and attempted to obstruct the movement of vehicles in the area, the prosecution said.

Police restored to lathi-charge but Sena workers retaliated by hurling stones at the cabin of the senior police inspector, tearing curtains, breaking furniture and even trying to attack police personnel, injuring one of them.

Later, police registered a case against protesting Sena workers under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on charges of unlawful assembly, rioting, assault or use of criminal force obstructing a public servant from discharging duty and the appropriate sections of the Bombay Police Act.

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