BJP’s Mihir Kotecha facing FIR after allegations of paying people to vote

BJP MLA from Mulund, Mihir Kotecha has come under fire for allegedly distributing cash to influence voters. This came to light when a confrontation erupted over allegations of cash distribution happening at the party office in Mulund.

Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Sanjay Dina Patil has reportedly claimed that his party workers have received a tipoff about a large-scale cash distribution happening by BJP in Mumbai’s Mulund.  Acting on this information, a group of Shiv Sena (UBT) workers gathered near the office of BJP candidate Mihir Kotecha, located on BP Cross Road.

The situation escalated when a BJP worker was reportedly caught distributing money within a building that doubled as Kotecha’s back-office. Subsequently, the Mumbai police arrived along with election officials and have reportedly seized approximately Rs 1.65 lakh from the office. The BJP members have not been able to provide the necessary paperwork for the cash at that moment.

On May 18th, the BJP office was thronged by 20 to 25 Shiv Sena (UBT) workers who were soon lathi-charged and arrested by the police officers on charges of manhandling election staff. Mihir Kotecha attended a rally after the incident at Shivaji Park, which was also attended by PM Modi, and said that he was not ‘afraid’ of such ‘attacks.’ In the aftermath of the incident, the state’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also visited the office, along with BJP leader Prasad Lad. The two leaders condemned the incident.

According to Sena UBT MLA Sunil Raut, their activists had “proper information” and had soon alerted the police and poll officials. However, Raut has even alleged that the cash disappeared under suspicious circumstances, hinting that there is a possible leeway given to the BJP by the authorities.

The Mumbai Police DCP Purshottam Karad has confirmed the claims that Shiv Sena UBT had claimed money was being distributed by BJP for votes. However, he has stated that the following investigation after the incident by the Election Commission has found no cases of bribery as was alleged. “The situation is under control and tension in the area has been reduced.” Although reports suggest that an FIR on account of the presence of unaccounted cash has been filed in relation to the incident.

Meanwhile BJP’s Kirit Somaiya has claimed that it is ‘normal’ for there to be cash with polling agents. The party’s Kotecha is contesting against Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Sanjay Dina Patil from the constituency.

Speaking to reporters as Mumbai went to polls on May 20th, requesting voters who returned from polling booths, Shiv Sena leader Udhav Thackeray has asked voters to return and cast their vote. Thackeray has also called out the police for arresting Shiv Sena workers instead of catching those reportedly bribing voters.



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