Day 3: A matter of ‘forged’ affidavit against Shinde | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Day 3: A matter of ‘forged’ affidavit against Shinde

Nov 24, 2023 09:32 AM IST

In the Seva vs Sena disqualification hearings, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief whip Sunil Prabhu was cross-examined on a resolution passed by Uddhav Thackeray to remove Eknath Shinde as group leader of the party. The resolution was claimed to be fake and forged by the Shinde faction, and Prabhu was accused of being responsible for the forgery. The hearing will continue in November and December, with the verdict expected to be delivered by December 31st.

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While much of day-two’s proceedings in the Seva vs Sena disqualification hearings hinged on overcoming the language barrier between Mahesh Jethmalani, the counsel representing the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena, and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief whip Sunil Prabhu, in Thursday’s cross-examination Prabhu was pinned down on the resolution passed by Uddhav Thackeray on June 21, 2022.

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Counsels from the respondent Eknath Shinde faction termed the resolution passed by Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray to remove Shinde as group leader of the party as fake and forged. The affidavit submitted by the Thackeray faction stated that the three ministers from Eknath Shinde’s party -- Uday Samant, Dada Bhuse and Sanjay Rathod -- had seconded the resolution, hours after Shinde walked out of Shiv Sena.

During the questioning in the central hall of Vidhan Bhavan, Jethmalani asked Prabhu about the veracity of the resolution, passed hours after the first batch of Sena MLAs led by Shinde moved to Surat. The resolution was moved by Thackeray faction MLA Ravindra Waikar and seconded by the three ministers who are now in Shinde’s Sena.

Jethmalani said no such resolution was passed in the first place and the copy submitted with signatures of the three ministers shown as seconders were forged. In the course of probing Prabhu, he said, “I have been briefed that they did not sign the resolution and I can summon them to put this on record. The signatures are forged and since you claim that they were done in your presence, you are responsible for the forgery.” Thackeray’s counsels objected to the argument, though it was overruled by assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar.

Prabhu responded to the allegation saying, “I have sworn on the constitution to speak the truth. I was present there and have seen the leaders signing the resolution. I am being termed a convict in the witness box.”

Jethmalani then pointed to a contradiction in the documents submitted by the Thackeray faction -- one of the affidavits in the apex court stated that Samant and Bhuse did not attend the meeting of the legislative party. Prabhu said it was “all on record”.

At the end of the day, Narwekar set the schedule for the remaining days of the hearing. He reiterated that he was bound to complete the hearing and deliver the verdict by December 31, the deadline set by the apex court.

The next course of hearing will be between November 28 and December 2, and then pick up between December 5 and 7. He gave four more days to Jethmalani for the cross-examination.

Devdutt Kamat, the Thackeray faction counsel, concurred on the time allocated to Jethmalani.

Narwekar then said oral arguments from both sides will take place between December 11 and 22, and urged both sides to complete their submission in this period. The hearing during this period will be held at the winter session in Nagpur. The speaker said around eight days will be required to draft the ruling and its delivery.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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