A 40-year-old civil engineer in Mumbai has claimed that policemen took him to NCP minister Jitendra Awhad's bungalow instead of the police station, where the minister's men thrashed him for posting a morphed photo.
The man, in a police complaint, also alleged that he was beaten with a bamboo stick and belt in front of the minister.
The alleged incident took place on Sunday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked people to light diyas or torch to show a "collective resolve" against coronavirus.
Anant Karmuse, a resident of Ghodbunder, had posted a photo morphed with Mr Awhad's face and a lit-up match stick with a caption, "I protest against the person who has edited the photo."
"On Sunday night, two policemen came to my house and said that they wanted to take me to the police station as their superior wanted to enquire about some case," he said.
Mr Karmuse said the policemen then took him to Jitendra Awhad's bungalow.
"Upon reaching there, 10 to 15 men were already present, the security guard informed the minister and soon those men started beating me. They thrashed me with lathis, belt, and bamboos after the stick broke," he said.
Thane police PRO Sukhada Narkar said an FIR has been registered against unknown people following the complaint.
Jitendra Awhad took to Twitter, posting a screenshot of a photo that was morphed and said, "Do you support this pervert. Will you tolerate this done against you or your family member. I don't support lawlessness."
Leader of opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday demanded removal of Mr Awhad from the state cabinet for the alleged assault on the engineer.
"This is a serious incident where private bodyguards of a minister beat up a civilian by bringing him to his home. The minister was present when the man was being thrashed," the BJP leader and former chief minister said.
BJP MLC Niranjan Davkhare said the man was beaten up brutally and no action was taken against Jitendra Awhad's "goons".
NCP goons of Min Jitendra Awhad abducted thane citizen for Tweeting different view with minister, was beaten in front of Awhad by 15 ppl, No action taken against such criminal behaviour. Is this democracy?@PMOIndia@AmitShah@Dev_Fadnavis@mipravindarekar@vinay1011@OfficeofUTpic.twitter.com/R78nR5xpkr— Niranjan Davkhare (@niranjandtweets) April 7, 2020
Mr Davkhare said Anant Karmuse was beaten up by the NCP leader's men in the presence of the minister at his bungalow.
BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said he has taken up the matter with the Thane police chief and sought action against those involved in the alleged assault.
"I spoke to the Thane police commissioner over phone from Delhi about this extraordinary aggravating factor in Thane. The police have promised action, but the critical pointis that those who should be guarding the law are taking law into their hands," the Rajya Sabha member said.
He tweeted that he also spoke to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on this issue.