Goa’s Independent MLA Khaunte held for 'threatening' BJP leader
Panaji, Feb 06: Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte was arrested by Goa Police on Wednesday midnight for allegedly threatening a state BJP spokesman, an official said. He was later granted bail in the wee hours of Thursday, he said.
Goa BJP spokesman Premanand Mahambrey on Wednesday filed a police complaint against Khaunte for allegedly threatening him. He also submitted the complaint to state Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar.
"Khaunte was arrested from his residence at Porvorim in North Goa district around midnight and later released on bail," Deputy Superintendent of Police (Porvorim) Edwin Colaco told PTI.
The MLA was placed under arrest after the Goa Police approached the Assembly speaker, seeking his consent for the legislator's arrest.
The speaker's permission is required as Goa Assembly session is currently underway. The budget session of the state Assembly will conclude on Friday.
The police in their submission before the speaker pointed out that the accused is an influential person and an elected representative, while the complainant is a spokesman of a political party, which might lead to further troubles.
Khaunte, the former state revenue minister, was subsequently arrested and booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 341 (wrongful restraint) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), a senior police official said.
Mahambrey in his police complaint accused Khaunte of threatening him at the Assembly complex building on Wednesday evening. Before that, Mahambrey addressed a press conference where he accused Khaunte of being involved in illegalities.
Later, Goa BJP chief Sadanand Tanavade alleged that Khaunte threatened Mahambrey as he was "frustrated" over the latter's press conference.
Khaunte was dropped from the Pramod Sawant-led state Cabinet last year. When contacted, Khaunte denied threatening Mahambrey.
"I have not touched anyone. The BJP is frustrated as we are exposing them in the House, hence they are trying to divert the attention," he said.