Mumbai, Dec 3: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator, who was caught on camera slapping a 65-year-old contractor in public, was arrested here today. Police booked Nitin Nikam under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code but let him off on bail.
Earlier in the day, Nikam's party colleagues tried to defend his actions although reports claimed that MNS chief Raj Thackeray "was upset seeing the visuals".
Footage of the contractor DG Patil being repeatedly slapped by Nikam provoked nationwide outrage. Nikam was apparently upset that the contractor failed to repair a water pipeline which caused shortage in Kalyan's Ganeshwadi locality.
Recounting the sequence of events, Patil rued, "I had come there to fix the leakage but he started beating me." Even after Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) commissioner Ramnath Sonawane assured of action against Nikam if the enquiry into the incident finds him guilty, the latter was unrepentant.
Nikam pointed out that drinking water was not supplied to people in Kalyan East for four days. Noting that the "officials and the contractors were passing the buck between themselves", he quipped that since the persons concerned "do not understand decent words, the message was delivered in our style".
The opposition urged the KMDC to take strict action against Nikam. However, Sonawane seemed to suggest that the accused was not completely in the wrong. "The work was getting delayed that is why Nitin Nikam got angry...," the corporation commissioner said.
This is the second time in the past few days that MNS men have courted controversy. Last week, a group of Raj Thackeray's supporters hauled a young resident of Palghar to the local police station as he supposedly ranted against their leader on Facebook.
However, it emerged that the youth's Facebook had been hacked by someone and the "offending" post was actually not his contribution.