After a case was filed against MLAs Alpesh Thakor, Jignesh Mevani and Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel over a "raid" conducted by them at a house to expose an alleged liquor den, the three leaders on Saturday sat on a dharna, seeking action against bootleggers.
The trio claimed to have raided the house of Kanchanben Makwana in Adivada area of Gandhinagar on Thursday to expose a "liquor den", after meeting four people who were hospitalised after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in Ahmedabad.
Subsequently, Makwana filed a case of trespass against them.
Thakor, Mevani and Patel had taken on the ruling BJP in the last Assembly polls.
The three leaders on Saturday went to the office of Superintendent of Police Virendra Yadav to surrender. But the police refused to arrest them immediately, saying the matter will be probed thoroughly.
Alleging that the BJP government was shielding bootleggers, the trio and their supporters, staged a sit-in after meeting the SP.
They demanded action against the alleged bootlegger at whose house they had conducted the raid.
"Police should make public the fact that members of this family are bootleggers, and the complainant as well as her (deceased) husband have been booked under the Prohibition law. We want this to be made clear so our followers do not think that we are doing this for publicity," said Thakor.
"In its 22 years' rule in the state, the BJP did little to control the liquor menace," Mevani said.
"The government promoted bootlegging...despite people dying after consuming spurious liquor. We gave evidence of bootlegging to support police (by conducting the raid), but instead of taking action against them, police have booked us," he said.
"Our credibility is being questioned.... Police should have taken action against the bootleggers," Hardik Patel said.
After meeting Patel, Mevani and Thakor, and also the Leader of Opposition in the assembly Paresh Dhanani, SP Yadav told reporters that the local crime branch will investigate the case from all angles.
"There is a procedure for conducting a raid, which even police have to follow. A raid such as this, without taking police along, is unwarranted. Nevertheless, we will investigate the allegations of the complainant woman and those of the accused too," Yadav said.
The woman and her late husband had faced cases under the prohibition law, the SP said.
"There have been FIRs against the complainant and her husband. But no FIR has been registered against them in the last nine-ten months," Yadav said.
Mevani, Thakor and Patel "raided" the house of Kanchanben Makwana with over a dozen supporters two days ago, claiming they wanted to expose the liquor den operating from the house.
An FIR was registered against them at Sector 21 Police Station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The charges included house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint (Section 452), intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace (Section 504) and intentionally giving false evidence (Section 193).
Makwana said in the complaint that the three leaders and their supporters entered her house when no male member of the family was present. She also accused them of planting two pouches of country-made liquor to frame her up.
Prohibition is in force in Gujarat since 1960.