Some political pundits attributed Thackarey’s support for migrant issue an election gimmick and an attempt at gaining publicity for 2009 elections in the state. Others called it a strategy to embarrass Shiv Sena, which is increasingly wooing north Indian votes.
Thackeray, along with Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, was arrested by the Mumbai Police on February 13, 2008 under section Section 135 A of the Indian Penal Code. He was granted bail on the same day. On 1 October 2008, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued by a Bihar court against him for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Biharis.
On 25 September 2008, Bombay High Court Justice J N Patel compared Thackeray’s actions to terrorism.
On 6 October 2008, Shiv Sena activists held rallies against Raj Thackeray after he suggested that Bal Thackeray no longer wrote the editorials for the Shiv Sena party newspaper Saamana in order to explain away negative coverage of himself without criticizing his mentor.
During a “Non-Resident Maharashtrian Day” interview with Maharashtra Times, Thackeray claimed that if he had been Chief Minister of Maharashtra the Tata Nano would have been produced in the state in spite of his record of job destruction. He again called non-Marathis residing or born in the state outsiders who are now living in fear thanks to his actions and claimed that future agitations of his party will be even more intense.
On 19 October 2008, Minister of Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav called Thackeray a ‘mental case’ because of attacks on non-Marathi job seekers attempting to take the railway board examinations by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists. Raj Thackeray justified the attacks saying that recruitment ads were not placed in the local language newspapers. Then on the next day some members of the Lok Sabha demanded that Thackeray be charged with treason for the attacks. On 21 October 2008, Thackery was arrested on charges of rioting, which sparked further violent protests by MNS activists. Later that day he was denied bail for the Dombivli-Kalyan case and was assigned to a two-week judicial custody.
On 24 October 2008, Jagdish Prasad filed a murder charge against Thackeray for the death of his son, Pawan Kumar, during the railway exam riots.
On 27 October 2008, a hijacker, Rahul Raj, took over a BEST bus carrying a revolver. He said that he wanted to talk to the Mumbai Police Commissioner, and that he wanted to kill Raj Thackeray. After he had fired upon another passenger, injuring the latter seriously, police police fired at, and killed, him.
In July 1996, Ramesh Kini was found dead in a cinema theatre in Pune. Kini was a tenant in a ramshackle tenement in central Mumbai, whose landlord, Laxmikant Shah, was trying to get him out of the house. Shah also happened to be a close childhood friend of Raj Thackeray. Kini’s wife, Sheila, then accused Raj and other Shivsena workers of threatening Ramesh to leave the house. A CBI enquiry was later issued for the case, but the CBI acquitted Raj the murder, dismissing the case as one of suicide.
Kohinoor mill contoversy
On 21 July 2005 a five acre plot of land, Kohinoor Mill No. 3, located across the road from the Shiv Sena party headquarters, Sena Bhavan, in Dadar, Mumbai, was purchased by Raj and Unmesh Joshi (son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister and former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi) for a whopping Rs 421 crore. The NCP leader from Mumbai, Sachin Ahir, then objected to the sale of the Kohinoor Mill land, saying that there were forty bids, yet only three were short-listed. He demanded a re-bid as there was a lack of transparency in the move. The Home Minister of Maharashtra, R.R Patil, also questioned how did Raj Thackeray managed to get 421 crores.