Swapnil Dcunha, the district chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Vasai, was arrested for allegedly obstructing and assaulting an excise officer who was conducting raids on illegal liquor trade in the area. He also allegedly recorded the incident and posted it online to show his dominance.
The complainant, Krishan Ratan Kharpade, is a 52-year-old excise officer who belongs to the Varli tribe from Palghar district. He was raiding a place near Chinchoti phata on Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway on April 3 when Dcunha confronted him and demanded to know why he had not taken action against “an illegal Vineet Bar and Restaurant in Vasai West”.
Kharpade told Dcunha that it was not his responsibility to act against illegal constructions, and that the bar and restaurant had a license issued by the Palghar district collector long ago. However, Dcunha did not listen to him and abused him verbally and physically, using casteist slurs. He left the spot and came back with another person who filmed the incident on his phone.
Kharpade said in his statement to Vasai police that Dcunha called him “a tribal thief” and manhandled him in front of his colleagues. He also said that Dcunha threatened him that he was not afraid of any legal action, as he had many cases against him already.
Kharpade filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Dcunha for using criminal force to deter a public servant from doing his duty, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc., under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Vasai police arrested Dcunha on April 6 after Kharpade lodged a complaint against him. He was produced before a court and remanded to police custody till April 10. The police are also looking for his accomplice who filmed the incident.
Dcunha is a local politician and a social media influencer who has a YouTube channel with over 9,000 subscribers. He often posts videos of his activities and views on various issues. He has also been involved in several controversies and cases in the past.
The MNS has not issued any official statement on the matter so far. The party is known for its aggressive and violent style of politics, especially against migrants and outsiders in Maharashtra. The party leader Raj Thackeray has often been accused of inciting violence and hate speech against certain communities and groups.