Politicians up the ante against police
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The ongoing budget session of the state assembly took a new turn Thursday with members cutting across party lines questioning police high-handedness in converting Vidhan Bhawan into a fortress and entering it without informing Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil.
At a meeting in the Speaker chamber in the evening, the members questioned the police decision to invoke section 353 against MLAs Kshitij Thakur (Bahujan Vikas Aghadi) and Ram Kadam (MNS), arrested for beating up assistant police inspector (traffic) Sachin Suryavanshi on Vidhan Bhawan premises.
While nobody questioned the decision to arrest the MLAs, the members alleged police violated norms by entering Vidhan Bhawan Wednesday without Speaker permission. Some of the cops did not possess valid entry passes, they claimed.
The Speaker himself accosted inspector KV Nigade, who was allegedly loitering on the premises without pass. He was suspended Thursday by Home Minister RR Patil.
The government suspects police were planning to arrest the MLAs at Vidhan Bhawan Wednesday evening and the plan was thwarted as senior leaders took up the matter.
"Since Suryavanshi was not on duty on the day the MLAs beat him up in the lobby of Vidhan Bhawan, section 353 of IPC is not justified," said a legislator.
"Section 352 IPC can be slapped only if there is an assault or crime to deter a public servant from discharging his duty," he said.
Patil said, "The government will seek views of legal experts and the law ministry in the matter."
Leader of opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse, leader of opposition in the council Vinod Tawde and Bal Nandgaonkar of MNS expressed concern over the alleged police violations. They asked Patil why police were impatient when the Speaker had suspended five MLAs, including Thakur and Kadam.
The home ministry argued police claimed they came to Vidhan Bhawan to seek CCTV footage.
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