Pune: The Ahmednagar police on Monday arrested Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Shivaji Kardile in connection with the murders of Shiv Sena leaders Sanjay Kotkar and Vasant Thube on Saturday.However, Mr. Kardile, MLA from Ahmednagar’s Rahuri constituency, denied his arrest and said he “voluntarily gave himself up” at the Bhingar police station this morning.A press note issued by the Ahmednagar police on Sunday had declared that the BJP MLA, along with 53 others connected to the crime and vandalism at the Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police’s office, was absconding.On Sunday, the police booked Mr. Kardile, along with NCP MLC Arun Jagtap (Sangram Jagtap’s father) and 30 others for allegedly hatching a conspiracy and executing the killings. ‘Allegations false’The BJP MLA refuted all allegations against him. “The police are investigating the crime and the culprits will be brought to justice. I have no relation with it. Since Saturday, the opposition [read Shiv Sena] is besmirching some members of my family and me by linking our names with the murders. Seeing this, I voluntary decided to appear before the police and cooperate with the probe,” Mr. Kardile told a local television channel.The second high-profile arrest in the case comes a day after Mr. Kardile’s son-in-law, National Congress Party (NCP) legislator Sangram Jagtap, and four others were taken into police custody in connection with the murders.Mr. Jagtap was taken into police custody in the wee hours of Sunday. Congress candidate Vishal Kotkar, who won the Kedgaon bypoll to the Ahmednagar civic body; his father Balasaheb Kotkar; Sandeep Gunjal and Bhanudas Kotkar were also booked for their alleged roles in the double murder.Soon after Mr. Jagtap was arrested, Mr. Kardile, along with a mob of over 200 persons allegedly vandalised the office of the Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar. However, Mr. Kardile denied allegations, stating that events had been “misinterpreted”. “After Sangram [Jagtap] was arrested, a mob had gathered at the SP’s office. I was returning from a function and decided to stop en route and pacify the mob. I urged the crowd to show restraint,” he said, adding he was ready to face any inquiry. The aftermath of the Kedgaon bypoll coupled with years of political rivalry are said to be the broad reasons for the murders of the two Sena leaders, who were first shot at and then attacked with sharp weapons.The murders have led to the suspension of police inspector Abhay Parmar of Ahmednagar’s Kotwali police station Minister of State for Home, Deepak Kesarkar. He has been replaced by PI Ramesh Ratnaparkhi.Mr. Parmar’s suspension was prompted by Shiv Sena’s allegations about the allegedly controversial role of the police authorities in Kedgaon in the crime.All three families — the Kardiles, the Jagtaps and the Kotkars — are related to each other by marriage and virtually dominate Ahmednagar politics, especially at the taluka and civic body levels.Both Mr. Kardile and Congress leader Bhanudas Kotkar have a history of crime, their names figuring prominently in the murder of lottery-ticket businessman Ashok Lande in 2008. The incident has snowballed into a political slug-fest, with the Sena and the NCP trading charges.On Sunday, senior Shiv Sena leader and Minister Ramdas Kadam, alleged that the murders were “a premeditated conspiracy by the BJP, Congress and NCP”. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, retaliated by accusing the Sena of attempting to tarnish his party’s reputation by fabricating charges.
Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra took a dig at the Australian cricket team and the Aussie media for making a villain out of Virat Kohli.Kohli was involved in a heated war of words with Australian captain Tim Paine during the Perth Test – the exchange culminated with Paine asking Murali Vijay how he could like his captain as a bloke.There was widespread criticism of Kohli’s behaviour. Former Australian pace ace Mitchell Johnson said Kohli was disrespectful and added his antics in Perth made him look silly.But Chopra, who had toured Australia in 2003-04 and recalled a moment he was sledged even when he was not playing a Test, said the Australians needed to look inward and figure out how they behaved in the past.”The Australian media is rallying behind their cricket team and, in fact, making India and Virat Kohli as the villains of world cricket. I am very, very surprised. It’s the classic case of pot calling the kettle black. Perhaps, it’s time for them to look inwards and just ask themselves the question, regards to how they have behaved in the past,” Chopra told India Today.Chopra said he found nothing offensive in Kohli’s behaviour and insisted India did not cross any line.”Personally, I have been watching Virat Kohli and the team’s behaviour very closely. I have found nothing that is offensive, nothing that is crossing the line.”Yes, he is getting under the skin of the Australian team but that’s how we expected it to be. I think they [Australian media] are overreacting and making a mountain of a molehill. During my time, I was sledged even when I wasn’t playing,” Chopra said. An Australian cricketer, who is a friend now, sledged me once when I walked in as a substitute fielder. Well, Australians… They shouldn’t be saying anything about it.”advertisementEarlier, speaking on India Today, Sunil Gavaskar had said India had started the sledging war and they had to be now prepared to cop some of it from the Australians.”We have not been saints either. Way back in 2014, when Australia were down with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, we started it. They were too shocked in the first Test and we started it. In a situation like this, we will always lose. Australia are used to playing like that, we are not. It’s not in our DNA to play cricket like that. You also have to take into account if everyone in the team can take it. Even over here, we have started it,” Gavaskar said.Also Read | Allan Border defends Virat Kohli’s antics: He feels the need to show passion and driveAlso Read | India vs Australia: Virat Kohli extends dominance as No. 1 Test batsmanAlso See: