Alpesh, Hardik, Mevani protest outside police station over sale of illicit liquor

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Gandhinagar, July 8: Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, OBC and Dalit leaders as well as legislators Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani reached the office of the Gandhinagar Superintendent of Police to court arrest in a trespass case against them.

But before they sat on a dharna on late Saturday evening, they demanded the SP declare the antecedents and the business of the person, who had complained against the three for illegal trespass in home, as part of their self-styled ‘janata raid’ against sale of illicit liquor in the state capital last Thursday.

They said they would not move from there till the senior officer agrees to their demand.

After the late-night drama, the Superintendent of Police eventually came out and admitted that the family was indeed into illegal sale of country-made liquor. Following this, everyone dispersed.

While the three had been claiming that liquor was sold there and even found a few pouches of liquor during their raid, Gandhinagar Police did not find anything there.

After the incident, the owner of the house, Kanchanben Makwana filed a police complaint, alleging that Thakore, Patel and Mevani, had entered her house without permission and “this was harassment”.

Makwana claimed the alcohol ‘found’ at her home was planted by one of the supporters of the three before they entered her house in garb of carrying out a ‘janata raid’.

“In her complaint, Kanchanben has said that she does not sell liquor and the two pouches recovered from her house were planted by the people who had entered her home,” Virendrasinh Yadav, SP, Gandhinagar, said.

“The three leaders have arrived here, but police are investigating the case. Only after the investigations, we will make our further move,” the police officer said.

The three have been booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Section 452 (assault or wrongful restraint), Section 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), Section 193 (intentionally giving false evidence) and trespass.

If proven, the provisions in the law stipulate up to 7 years in jail. However, bail is possible at the police station level itself.

The three leaders had begun their ‘janata raid’ and announced they would carry out campaign against illicit liquor in the “dry state”.

As part of their initiative and to prove their point, they carried out a ‘janata raid’ at Kanchanben’s house, located at around 100 metres from the office of Gandhinagar SP and claimed to recover two pouches of liquor.

A large number of supporters, including Congress MLAs Kirit Patel and Dhavalsinh Rathod, were present outside the police station, in support of the three.

Later in the evening, Leader of Opposition, Paresh Dhanani also reached there.

“This is a failure of the BJP government whose police, instead of nabbing the culprits behind the illegal bootlegging, is trying to intimidate the social workers who are trying to wipe out the illegal trade of liquor. This is a message by them to intimidate the public by levying false charges against them,” Dhanani told reporters.