Saying he was hurt byBJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remark against Hemant Karkare, a former colleague of the slain chief of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad is contesting the election against her from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency. Riyazuddin Ghayasuddin Deshmukh (60), who had worked under Karkare, has filed nomination as independent candidate.

Deshmukh, who is from Aurangabad, told PTI on Thursday that he was “deeply hurt and devastated” by Thakur’s remark against his former boss.

Thakur, out on bail in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, had said that Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack because she had “cursed” him for “torturing” her during the blast probe. She withdrew the statement later.

“Seconds after she called Karkare sahab anti-national, I decided to contest the election against her,” said Deshmukh, who retired as Assistant Commissioner of Police in 2016.

“I had worked as a sub-inspector under Karkare when he was the Superintendent of Police in Akola. He was my boss. He was brave, co-operative, encouraging and a gem of a person. He liked me very much and I respected him immensely,” he added.

Deshmukh said he filed his nomination on April 23. “I am not going to withdraw it at any cost,” he said.

The election in Bhopal, where the main contest is between Thakur and Congress veteran Digvijay Singh, will be held on May 12.

Thakur is facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Malegaon blast case.