The Goa Crime Branch on Thursday arrested state Aam Aadmi Party president Amit Palekar for allegedly misrepresenting facts in connection with an accident wherein a Mercedes car mowed down three people near Panaji earlier this month, an official said.
Palekar has been accused of misrepresenting facts by introducing a wrong person as the car driver before the investigation officer in an attempt to save the main accused who was at the wheels at the time of the accident, a senior police official told PTI.
The AAP leader, however, said he has nothing to do with the crime and claimed his arrest was part of "dirty politics", while his party colleagues sought to link the police action with formation of national opposition bloc INDIA, which they claimed, has rattled the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Palekar was arrested under Indian Penal Code section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), the police official said.
Earlier, businessman Paresh Sawardekar, who owns a chain of supermarkets and a real estate firm, was arrested after the Mercedes car he was allegedly driving in an inebriated condition on August 7 hit five vehicles in Banastarim village near Panaji, killing three persons, police had said.
The accident, in which three cars, a motorcycle and a scooter were hit, took place on the Ponda-Panaji national highway, some 15 kilometres from the state capital, he said.
On Thursday morning, the police took the AAP Goa chief into custody from his office in Panaji, the official said.
Talking to reporters while he was being taken away by police, Palekar claimed he was arrested as part of dirty politics.
The AAP leader claimed the police action stemmed from his refusal to join the BJP.
I was told (a couple of days ago) that 'we will teach you a lesson if you don't concede our request' (to join BJP), Palekar said without naming anyone.
AAP Goa leaders gathered outside the Crime Branch office near Panaji and condemned the arrest of Palekar.
AAP MLA Capt Venzy Viegas told media persons that Palekar is facing consequences of refusing to join the ruling party.
I was told by Amit last night that he has been getting feelers asking him to join the BJP. He was threatened with arrest if he did not listen to their diktats, Viegas said without taking any names.
AAP leader Valmiki Naik claimed the BJP has been feeling uneasy ever since the opposition grouping, Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), took shape in June.
"The BJP is disturbed after opposition parties came together. The ruling party is trying every possible trick to threaten opposition leaders, he alleged.
The bloc, of which the AAP is a constituent, is holding its two-day conclave in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1.
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