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Will launch operation against mafia elements: Minister

Deepak KesarkarFacing flak over “deteriorating” law and order situation in Maharashtra in the wake of killing of two Shiv Sena leaders in Ahmednagar last week, the state government is mulling to launch an operation against “mafia elements”.

Minister of state for Home (Rural) Deepak Kesarkar said the government has taken ransacking of the office of Ahmednagar superintendent of police last week seriously.

The office was vandalised after detention of NCP MLA Sangram Jagtap, an accused in the double murder case.

Police on Monday arrested BJP MLA from Rahuri constituency, Shivaji Kardile, father-in-law of Jagtap, in connection with the vandalism incident which occurred last Saturday.

Kesarkar, however, said the law and order situation in Maharashtra is comparatively better than other states.

“In Ahmednagar, two political activists were gunned down in broad daylight. The office of the superintendent of police was vandalised. This is a serious matter. Whether the murders were due to a personal enmity or were the fallout of a political rivalry is a different matter.

“It is the fact that two persons were killed and such a situation is not good for Maharashtra,” Kesarkar said.

Two motorcycle-borne assailants shot dead Sanjay Kotkar (35) and Vasant Thube (40) in Shahunagar area of Kedgaon in Ahmednagar on April 7, hours after the result of a civic bypoll in the area was announced. The bypoll was won by a Congress candidate.

The minister said he would visit Ahmednagar next week to take stock of the situation and discuss with police the ways to clamp down on the mafia elements.

“We will undertake a clean up operation to come down heavily on the mafia elements,” said Kesarkar.

Police have also arrested Sangram Jagtap (33) and three others, including a suspected shooter, in connection with the murder case, which is being probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Sangram Jagtap’s father and NCP MLC, Arun Jagtap, who was also booked on charge of a conspiracy, is on the run.

Kardile was booked with others by the Ahmednagar Police on charge of hatching a criminal conspiracy to kill the two Sena leaders.

The Sena has demanded that Kardile be sacked from the BJP while the NCP has defended Sangram Jagtap saying he was being framed with an intention to defame the Sharad Pawar-led party.

The Sena, an alliance partner of the ruling BJP, has alleged that law and order situation in Maharashtra has worsened under the watch of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also heads Home department.

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