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Raj Thackeray arrested in Ratnagiri

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Oct 21, 2008 at 07:19am IST

Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) supremo Raj Thackeray was arrested in Ratnagiri late on Monday night. He is being brought to Mumbai and is likely to be produced in Bandra court at about 1100 hrs IST.

Police have charged Raj with rioting in Kherwadi in Mumbai and a case has been registered in the Bandra police station.

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He has been charged under Section 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), Section 353 (Assault or use of criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and Section 427 (Mischief, and thereby causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 and upwards) of the Indian penal Code.

TIME RUNNING OUT: Police have charged Raj with rioting in Kherwadi in Mumbai.

While the first and the last are bailable offence, the second is a non-bailable offence.

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Police are also on a high alert in Mumbai to prevent any backlash from his supporters. But despite the heavy police presence in Mumbai, some taxis belonging to North Indians were damaged by MNS activists though no one was injured in the attack.

Some people also tried to barge into Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam's office in Andheri.

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Earlier, two Jharkhand Police officers met Mumbai police officials in connection with a non-bailable warrant issued against Raj by a Jamshedpur court.

The non-bailable warrant was issued by the court of First Class Judicial Magistrate AK Tiwary against Raj by the court in Jharkhand on September 30.

An advocate Hammed Raza Khan had filed a case against the MNS chief for hurting religious sentiments of Biharis by allegedly making derogatory remarks about Chhath puja.

The petition was filed on February 2, 2008 and quoted Raj Thackeray as describing Chhath as "a drama".

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Raj moved the Jharkhand High Court on Monday seeking a stay on a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by the Jamshedpur court and shifting of the trial in the case to Mumbai from the steel city.

The High Court in Ranchi has posted the petition for hearing on October 25, his lawyer Akhilesh Choubey said in Mumbai.

Choubey said the High Court has not granted any interim protection from arrest to Raj till October 25.

This is the second time Raj has moved the Jharkhand High Court for shifting the trial from Jamshedpurt to Mumbai.

Earlier in September, the MNS chief had approached the High Court for transfer of the trial to Mumbai.

The High Court, however, rejected his plea but granted him the liberty to move the lower court with it.

Raj has been critisising North Indians for 'snatching' away jobs from the local Maharashtrians and of not 'respecting' the Marathi culture.

His party activists have been targeting North Indians across Maharasthra and on Sunday, too, North Indian candidates appearing for a railway recruitment examination were roughed up by MNS supporters and prevented from taking the examination.

The issue also rocked Parliament on Monday with many political parties and leaders calling for stern action against the MNS chief.

(With inputs from Toral Varia and Rohit Chandavarkar)

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