"Will Spare No One": Eknath Shinde's First Remarks on Pune Porsche Case

The Maharashtra Chief Minister said he has been in touch with the Pune police commissioner since day one.

Mr Shinde was also asked about the Congress' allegations against his government.

Breaking his silence on the Pune Porsche accident, which has sparked outrage across the country as well as a political row, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said he has been in touch with the Pune police commissioner since day one and that the law is equal for all.

Mr Shinde's comments on Tuesday came soon after Congress' Maharashtra President, Nana Patole, demanded the resignation of the chief minister and his deputies, claiming that there is a nexus between the police, politicians and the rich and influential people in the state.

Answering a question on the alleged preferential treatment given to the 17-year-old son of a prominent Pune builder, Mr Shinde said in Hindi, "I have been in touch with the Pune police commissioner since day one. I have said right from the beginning that, irrespective of how influential the person is, there should be no discrimination. No matter how rich or poor a person is, the law is equal for all and no one will be spared. I have ordered strict action."

"The two people who have died are also someone's children. Strict action will be taken against all guilty people in this case. Their background will also be checked. I have personally told the police commissioner to spare no one, whether it is a doctor or anyone else," the chief minister said.

Mr Shinde was referring to the arrest of Dr Ajay Tawade and Dr Hari Harnor of Sasoon Hospital by the Pune Crime Branch for allegedly replacing the teenager's blood samples with those of a doctor. A peon, Atul Ghatkamble, who acted as the middleman and allegedly collected the Rs 3 lakh bribe meant for the two doctors from the realtor's family, was also arrested. 

Cover-Up Allegations

Earlier on Tuesday, Congress' Nana Patole had alleged that the son of an MLA was also involved in the accident and the legislator took part in the cover-up. Without naming the MLA, he said the legislator was in touch with the police after the crash and also spoke to the doctors and asked them to switch the blood sample.

There have been reports of Sunil Tingre - an NCP (Ajit Pawar faction) MLA from Vadgaonsheri - having visited the Yerwada police station, where the teenager was taken after the accident, in the early hours of May 19. 

When Mr Shinde was asked about Mr Tingre, he said, "Whoever is found guilty or involved will be prosecuted."

The accident had taken place in the early hours of May 19, when the teenager, who had been drinking with his friends in two pubs in Pune to celebrate his Class 12 results, had knocked down two IT professionals - both 24 years old - in the Kalyani Nagar area of Pune. Aneesh Awadhiya, who was riding the bike was sent flying and hit a parked car, while Ashwini Koshta - who was riding pillion - was flung 20 feet into the air. Both of them had died on the spot. 

At 17 years and 8 months old, the teenager was four months short of the legal age for driving and more than seven years shy of Maharashtra's legal age for drinking. He was initially granted bail within 15 hours of the accident and asked to write a 300-word essay. This had sparked massive outrage and he was then sent to a remand home till June 5. The teenager's father and grandfather are in police custody.