Shiv Sena legislator Nitin Deshmukh, who had accompanied party rebel Eknath Shinde to Surat, on Wednesday claimed that some people had forcibly admitted him to a hospital there and he was administered injections though he never suffered a heart attack.
Kailas Patil, another party MLA representing Osmanabad, said he escaped from a car carrying legislators to Surat, walked kilometres, hitched a ride on a two-wheeler and truck before he was finally sent a vehicle to ferry him to 'Varsha', the chief minister's official residence in the wee hours of Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters at the Nagpur airport, Akola MLA Deshmukh said he somehow managed to return safely to Maharashtra from Surat and pledged loyalty to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
A day earlier, Deshmukh's wife had filed a complaint with the Akola police stating that her husband had gone missing.
Deshmukh represents the Balapur assembly seat in Akola district in the Vidarbha region.
"I am a Shiv Sainik of Uddhav Thackeray and Balasaheb Thackeray. I am in good health. On Tuesday, I was taken to a hospital in Surat by 20-25 people and police personnel. They said I had suffered a heart attack but I never suffered any heart attack. My blood pressure also didn't shoot up. Their intention was wrong. I was given some injections forcibly," he claimed.
A day earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had claimed that some MLAs accompanying Shinde to Surat were misled and "kidnapped" to Gujarat.
He had said that Nitin Deshmukh was beaten up by the police and goondas under 'Operation Kamal' in Surat when he tried to escape and suffered a heart attack.
In her complaint filed with the Akola police, Deshmukh's wife had said that her husband had become unreachable from Monday night.
The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is battling a crisis following the rebellion by senior Sena minister Eknath Shinde and a sizable number of MLAs belonging to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Shinde had said he has 46 MLAs supporting him.
"I have more numbers (of Shiv Sena MLAs) than needed (to form a separate group in the assembly without inviting the anti-defection law provisions)," he told a Marathi TV channel. The Sena has 55 members in the 288-member state assembly.
Reacting to Deshmukh's claims, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said this indicates "democracy is being murdered".
"From Nitin Deshmukh's explanation, one can understand how democracy is being murdered by stooping low. Satya pareshan ho sakta hai parajit nahi. In this struggle, Congress is standing firmly with Shiv Sena and Mahavikas Aghadi!" he tweeted.
MLA Patil said he had gone to Thane for dinner being hosted by Shinde on June 20. He, however, grew suspicious when the car was leaving Maharashtra between 8 and 9 pm.
Patil declined to divulge the names of five-six MLAs who were with him in the car.
"I jumped out of the car at the toll naka (which is the entry point of Gujarat and exit point of Maharashtra) and crossed over to the other side of the road and walked a few kilometres in the night before being given a lift by a bike rider near a village," Patil told PTI.
Referring to Patil, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, "One MLA walked for four hours and reached Mumbai."
Patil said he waited to get another ride, but no vehicle stopped. Finally, a truck with Uttar Pradesh number plate gave him a ride till the Dahisar toll naka, which is an entry point to Mumbai, at around 1 am (on Tuesday).
"From Dahisar toll naka, I called the chief minister's residence and a vehicle was sent to pick me up,” Patil said.