A non-cognisable offence was registered against a man for calling up the police control room claiming a “plot” to kill Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at a hotel in Lonavala in the Pune district, an official said on Sunday. The investigation revealed the man, Avinash Waghmare, was drunk and made the call on Saturday to “teach a lesson” to the owner of the hotel for allegedly overcharging him for a bottle of water.
A day earlier, the State Intelligence Department (SID) had received a specific input about the threat to the life of CM Shinde, State Intelligence Commissioner Ashutosh Dumbre had said. “After specific information, we have taken necessary action and have increased the security of the chief minister,” Dumbre had told PTI.
Additional security has been provided to the CM, who enjoys a Z Plus category security cover, he said, adding that security has also been stepped up at Shinde’s private residence in Thane and the official residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai. A police official in Mumbai on Sunday night suggested the threat input was linked to the NC case registered in Pune. Waghmare, who was travelling from Ghatkopar in Mumbai to Sangli in a private bus, allegedly made the call on Saturday to the control room claiming a plan was being hatched in the Lonavala hotel to kill the chief minister, the official said.
Waghmare later admitted he was drunk when he made the call to get the police on the trail of the hotelier with whom he had quarrelled for being overcharged for a bottle of water, the official added. “Following the call, our team reached the hotel and found that the caller was travelling in a bus. Our team tried to call the person back to get details but he was not answering.
“Later the location of the phone was traced and the man was made to alight,” said Pune (Rural) Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh. “Waghmare was travelling alone in a private bus and was on his way to Sangli. He told us he made the call by mistake as he was drunk. He said the bus halted at the hotel for dinner on Saturday where he had a tiff with the hotel owner over the price of a water bottle,” the SP said.
He called up the police control room with the story of a plot being hatched in a hotel room intending to “teach a lesson” to the owner, the SP added. “He asked the police to visit the hotel as soon as possible and boarded the bus and left for his destination. We have filed a non-cognizable case against Waghmare under Indian Penal Code section 177 (knowingly furnishing false information to a public servant),” Deshmukh added. Earlier in the day, the chief minister had said the state police department was taking all precautionary measures to ensure his safety in the wake of the threat to his life.
“Even when I was not the chief minister, I had received threats from Naxalites, anti-national elements. I am a man of masses and no one can stop me from being among people,” he had said. “No one should try to do any such thing,” the chief minister said while responding to a question on the death threat.
Shinde had received a threat letter suspected to have been sent by Naxalites last October when he was the Urban Development Minister and also guardian minister of Gadchiroli district, affected by Naxalism. Shinde became the chief minister on June 30 this year after his rebellion with Shiv Sena MLAs led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government. He is scheduled to address his first Dussehra rally at MMRDA grounds in Mumbai on October 5.