Amid the letter war between former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, one of the persons purportedly talking of “honey-trapping” senior BJP leaders in the controversial audio tape that has rocked the city’s political circles was arrested on Sunday.
According to a press note issued by the Crime Branch, however, the arrest was made in a different case — Sayyad has a few other cases registered against him, it said. Deputy Commissioner of Police Nilesh Bharne said, “Sunday’s arrest is in a property grabbing case. Sayyad has four offences, including rioting in a hospital, against his name.”
Asked if he would be arrested in the audio tape case too, Bharne said, “It relates to defamation. We will question him about that too.”
Sayyad was allegedly talking to another person in the audio tape about a plan to honey-trap city Mayor Sandeep Joshi and senior corporator Dayashankar Tiwari. The tape has led to several rounds of allegations and counter-allegations between the BJP and Deshmukh.
First, Fadnavis had written a letter to Deshmukh seeking a probe into the matter. Deshmukh had later written to Fadnavis saying that Sayyad was a BJP worker and the “honey-trap” plan was a result of BJP’s internal dispute. Deshmukh had also alleged that Sayyad had business relations with former BJP minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and former BJP MLA Sudhakar Deshmukh. Both had strongly rebutted the claim and had sought Deshmukh’s apology.
Fadnavis had retaliated saying Sayyad has been seen in photographs with NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar and even with Deshmukh himself. He had alleged that Deshmukh precluding the audio to be a result of BJP’s internal dispute was pre-judicial to the probe and he would be constrained to move the Chief Justice and Registrar of Bombay High Court if fair probe wasn’t conducted into the case.
On Sunday, Deshmukh wrote back saying, “I haven’t met this person (Sayyad) in the last five years. So, your allegation has pained me a lot. Such opportunist persons don’t belong to any party. This you have yourself said in your second letter and yet you have given this issue a political colour.”
Deshmukh further says, “You said you would move the CJ of Bombay HC. A probe is already underway. If you don’t have any faith in it, I am ready to get it done by any senior police officer of your choice from the state.”