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Legislator thrashed in hotel parking lot

Mumbai, Nov. 4: A Bandra hotel owner along with his two security staff have been put behind bars after they allegedly assaulted Ramdas Athavale, a Republican Party of India (Athavale) MP.

Hearing news of the attack on Athavale, RPI activists gathered in large numbers and ransacked the Sheetal Arch Hotel, where the incident took place, till early morning today.

Party sources said the fracas started over an argument regarding parking space for the MP’s Tata Safari.

Security guards at the hotel on Linking Road insisted that the MP remove his car from the parking lot as they were expecting a “VIP”. When Athavale refused, the hotel guards allegedly manhandled him, his driver and his son-in-law.

Bandra inspector Dilip Suryavanshi said Gurvinder Singh, the hotel owner, and two others have been arrested for “threatening, assaulting and obstructing a government servant”. Though five RPI activists were detained by the police, they were set free soon after.

Athavale, an MP from the Pandharpur Lok Sabha constituency, had reached the hotel after his wife and son picked him up from the airport. Narrating the incident, his driver, Gopinath Jogdand, said: “As I was parking the vehicle, the security guards started objecting. When I told them that it was an MP’s car, around 8 security personnel started hitting me and Vicky (the MP’s son-in-law). They didn’t stop even when Athavale saab intervened.”

Athavale, who is provided police protection, had asked his personal security staff not to accompany him as it was Diwali and he wanted some time out alone with his family.

RPI activists who vandalised the hotel till 2 am this morning stopped only after police assured them that the hotel owner had been arrested.

“Our boys were very angry and have not left a single thing in the hotel untouched,” said Sandeep Mohite, an RPI activist. “We also staged a dharna and raasta roko in front of the hotel,” he added.

Sources said Athavale spoke to deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal immediately after the incident, asking for the hotel owner’s arrest. The MP also alleged that Bandra police had tried to hush up the case by taking Singh to his residence and asking him to apologise, the sources maintained.

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