BJP MLA Prakash Mehta booked for assault

BJP, local Congress leaders exchange allegations.

BJP MLA from Ghatkopar (East) Prakash Mehta has been booked for allegedly assaulting two people, including a local Congress leader.

Following the scuffle on Tuesday, some Congress activists tried to enforce a bandh and a few shops in the area downed shutters for a while. Pant Nagar police booked the MLA and some others in the case.

The police said complainant Ashok Bhanushali (36) is general secretary of the Congress in the North East District.

Mehta allegedly got into a scuffle with Bhanushali and friend Rahul Desai and about an hour later they were attacked by a group of men. Bhanushali alleged the men attacked them at the behest of Mehta, police said.

The incident occurred on the 60 Feet Road in Ghatkopar around 8.00 pm Tuesday, police said.

"According to statements recorded so far, Mehta got into an argument with Bhanushali's friend Nirmal Khetia. The exact reason is being verified. Khetia called up Bhanushali, who reached the spot along with Desai," said an officer with Pant Nagar police station.

Matters escalated with Bhanushali's arrival, as Mehta had been at loggerheads with him after Bhanushali quit the BJP to join the Congress two months ago, sources said.

While the argument was sorted out at the time, a group of around eight to ten men allegedly ambushed and attacked Bhanushali and Desai an hour later. Bhanushali filed a complaint with Pant Nagar police, alleging Mehta instigated the attack.

Congress North East District president Manoj Dubey alleged that the incident was BJP's retribution to the ongoing campaign of the Congress against illegal pavement stalls. "Mehta supports these stalls and hence started the altercation with Khetia," Dubey claimed.

In a press release on Wednesday evening, BJP secretary Kirit Somaiya refuted the allegations against Mehta.

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