MUMBAI: Union minister Narayan Rane on Tuesday defended his remarks against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying he hasn’t committed any crime by making them.

On speculation that he will be arrested in this case, Rane said he was not a ‘normal’ man and cautioned the media against such reportage.

“I haven’t committed any crime. You should verify and show it on TV or else I will file a case against you (media). Despite not committing any crime, the media is showing speculative news about my ‘imminent’ arrest. Do you think I am a normal (ordinary) man?” Rane told reporters at Chiplun in the coastal Konkan region.

Asked about cases filed by Shiv Sena workers against him over his remarks, Rane shot back, “Shiv Sena who?” Rane has sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s independence.

“It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap,” Rane told reporters during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Raigad district on Monday.

The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15 address to the people of the state.

Thackeray had to check the year of independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said.

Meanwhile, BJP workers gathered outside Rane’s residence on Juhu Tara Road in Santacruz (West) in the morning in support of their party leader.

Besides, Shiv Sena workers, including women, carrying placards and shouting slogans against Rane, assembled outside an office of the Yuva Sena (the party’s youth wing), located nearby in Juhu.

A posse of police personnel, including women cops, were deployed outside Rane’s residence to prevent any untoward incident, the official said.

Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey on Tuesday issued orders for the immediate arrest of the Union minister after an FIR was registered against him in the north Maharashtra city.

Accordingly, a team of Nashik Police left in the morning for Ratnagiri district, where Rane is currently carrying out his ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’, an official said.

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Following his remarks, a complaint was lodged against Rane by Nashik city Shiv Sena unit chief at the Cyber police station there.

Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered against Rane in Nashik under IPC sections 500 (defamation), 505(2) (mischief), 153-B (1)(c) (remarks likely to cause disharmony, or feeling of enmity or hatred or ill-will), a police official said.

Considering the law and order situation across the state and in Nashik in the wake of Rane’s remarks, Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey ordered an investigation into the matter and immediate arrest of the Union minister.

Accordingly, a team, led by Nashik DCP (crime) Sanjay Barkund and comprising police inspector Ananda Wagh and other officers, was formed and it rushed to Chiplun in Ratnagiri to arrest Rane, the official said.

The team was asked to arrest Rane and produce him before a court in Nashik, the official said, adding the team was also directed to follow the due procedure for arresting the Union minister.

“We are going by the facts of the case after the registration of an offence against Rane. We are following the rule of law,” Pandey said, adding the arrest was needed to prevent the repetition of such an offence.

The Union minister will be arrested in the case and produced before a court, and further action will be taken according to orders of the court, the police commissioner said.

After Rane’s arrest, Vice President (Venkaiah Naidu) will be informed as the Union minister is a member of the Rajya Sabha, the official said.

“While arresting Rane, police will follow all protocols with regard to a Union minister,” he said adding all his privileges as Union minister will be considered.

Whatever he wants to say, he can put forth before the court, the senior police official said.

Meanwhile, in Aurangabad , Shiv Sena’s spokesperson Ambadas Danve lodged a complaint against Rane at Kranti Chowk police station over the latter’s remarks against the CM and party workers hit a photo of the Union minister with footwear.

Talking to reporters after lodging the police complaint, Danve said Rane’s remarks were “objectionable”, and demanded action against the BJP leader.

The MLC called Rane a ‘kombdi chor’ (chicken stealer) — a reference to the poultry shop he ran in Chembur five decades ago during his initial stint with the Sena — a released a couple of hens at the Kranti Chowk square.

The women’s wing of the Shiv Sena will also undertake an agitation in Aurangabad, Danve said.

“Earlier, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray used to call Narayan Rane as ‘Naru’, which is the name of a disease in Marathi. The Shiv Sena has a remedy for this disease,” he said.

He claimed Rane made the statement to provoke the Shiv Sena.

The Shiv Sena will protest against Rane’s statement through the constitutional process as well as by taking to the streets, the MLC said.

An official at the Kranti Chowk police station in Aurangabad said they have received the Shiv Sena’s complaint and action will be taken as per the instructions of senior officials.