A Maharashtra police officer, assaulted by legislators in the state assembly premises, was suspended on Monday, even as two Members of Legislative Assembly allegedly involved in the incident walked out of jail on bail.
Home Minister R R Patil announced the suspension of Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi, for "misbehaving" with Bahujan Vikas Agadhi MLA Kshitij Thakur, in the assembly
Patil said he had watched the CD of the ‘verbal duel’ Suryavanshi had with Thakur on Bandra-Worli sealink on March 18, following which he had announced in the Legislative Council that the incident will be probed and the officer would be sent on forced leave.
"As per the preliminary inquiry by Deputy Commissioner of Police S R Nilevad, Suryavanshi was rude to Thakur, which is unbecoming of a police officer. He will be suspended till the inquiry is complete," Patil said.
He also announced the setting up of a committee headed by Peasants and Workers Party MLA Ganpatrao Deshmukh to probe the incident of assault on Suryavanshi by a group of legislators.
Independent leader Dilip Sopal, Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Girish Bapat, Shiv Sena leader R M Wani, Congress leader Sadashiv Patil and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Uttamrao Dikle would be part of the panel.
A proposal to this effect was adopted by the House by a voice vote.
On the other hand, MNS MLAs Kshitij Thakur and Ram Kadam today walked out of jail after Metropolitan Magistrate U M Padwad ordered their release on bail.
The court ordered their release on sureties of Rs 15,000 each and directed them to appear before the Crime Branch office in Mumbai every Wednesday between 11 am and 1 pm, till the completion of the investigation.
The two were arrested last Thursday after they had surrendered before the Crime Branch, following registration of an FIR against them, based on a complaint by Suryavanshi.
Speaker Dilip Walse Patil asked the chairman of the committee to submit his report as early as possible.
The decision to set up a committee was taken at a meeting between leaders of various parties and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The terms of reference of the committee would include whether the suspension of the five legislators, accused of beating up the police officer, should be revoked.
The committee, according to insiders, is expected to submit its report in a week's time.
The two Houses of the legislature had been witnessing frequent adjournments over the issue during the last few days.
The legislative assembly witnessed six adjournments today, with members cutting across party lines to demand action against Suryavanshi for allegedly misbehaving with Thakur.
They said their fellow MLAs had been wrongly booked under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code -- obstructing a government servant from discharging his duties -- as Suryavanshi was not on duty when he was allegedly assaulted.
MNS leader Harshvardhan Jadhav, who was allegedly beaten up by the police two years ago, said seven policemen had been booked under Section 307 (attempt to murder) in the case, but nobody had beens arrested.
"Policemen booked under Section 307 are promoted while MLAs wrongly booked under Section 353 (obstructing government servant from discharging duties) are sent to jail. Why should the laws be different for the police and legislators," he added.
Shiv Sena leader Ashish Jaiswal said Suryavanshi was from the traffic department of the police. "What traffic duty was he performing in Vidhan Bhavan -- that MLAs were booked for obstructing him from performing his duties," he asked.
Home Minister Patil said he would make a statement on Harshvardhan Jadhav's case on Tuesday.
"Since the matter is sub-judice, I will take legal opinion and make a statement tomorrow," he said.
Suryavanshi, attached to the Worli police station, was beaten up by a group of MLAs outside the visitor’s gallery at the state's legislature complex on Tuesday, a day after he stopped Thakur's vehicle on Bandra-Worli Sea Link for speeding and slapped a fine on the legislator.
On Wednesday, the assembly had suspended five MLAs -- MNS leader Ram Kadam, Bharatiya Janata party leader Jaykumar Rawal, Bahujan Vikas Agadhi leader Kshitij Thakur, Shiv Sena leader Rajan Salvi and Independent leader Pradeep Jaiswal -- for their alleged involvement in the episode.