A court in Mumbai on Monday acquitted at least 23 Shiv Sainiks, including Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde, Mayor Sanjay More and Kalyan party unit chief Gopal Landge who were tried for rioting in connection with a 2006 case. Thane Chief Judicial Magistrate RM Kulkarni acquitted all of them for lack of sufficient evidence.
A total of 24 Shiv Sainiks, including half a dozen women, were tried in the case of whom one Fatteh Bahadursingh died during pendency of trial.
The prosecution told the court that it was during the meeting of the TMT employees Union held at the Koli Samaj hall on September 3, 2006 that the alleged accused gate crashed into the hall, ran riot and damaged property besides attacking the inmates. They were tried under relevant sections of IPC.
Appearing on behalf of the accused, advocate Rajan Salunke, assisted by K D Jadhav and Archana Pawar, told the court that the accused were not at all involved in any offence as stated by the prosecution. There was no evidence to prove that they were present at the venue or involved in rioting and damage to property.
The court room was packed and Shiv Sainiks who gathered in huge numbers and greeted each other after the verdict.