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2 Maharashtra MLAs who thrashed policeman sent to jail

March 22, 2013 18:50 IST

Two Maharashtra members of Legislative Assembly accused of assaulting a police officer will have to spend at least three days in jail after a court on Friday reserved its order on their bail plea till Monday even as both Houses of legislature were adjourned amid ruckus over their suspension and conduct of police in the episode.

Additional Metropolitan Magistrate U M Padwad remanded Bahujan Vikas Agadhi MLA Kshitij Thakur and Maharashtra Navniram Sena’s Ram Kadam in judicial custody till April 5 after they were produced before the court at the end of a day's police custody.

The duo, accused of assaulting Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi inside the state legislature complex on Tuesday, immediately moved for bail and after hearing arguments from both sides, the metropolitan court reserved its order on their applications till Monday.

Thakur and Kadam had surrendered before the crime branch on Thursday and a metropolitan court remanded them in a day's police custody.

The Marine Drive police had registered cases against Thakur, Kadam and others under Indian Penal Code sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation).

The two MLAs would be lodged in high-security Arthur Road Jail. Suryavanshi, attached to the Worli police station, was beaten black and blue by a group of MLAs outside the visitors gallery at the state's legislature complex on Tuesday, a day after he had stopped the vehicle of Kshitij Thakur on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link for speeding and slapped a fine.

On Wednesday, the assembly had suspended five MLAs -- Ram Kadam of the MNS, Jaykumar Rawal of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Kshitij Thakur of the Bahujan Vikas Agadhi, Rajan Salvi of the Shiv Sena and Pradeep Jaiswal, an Independent -- for their alleged involvement in the unsavoury episode.

The issue resonated in the legislature on Friday with members cutting across party lines disrupting the proceedings, forcing several adjournments.

The assembly had to be adjourned for the entire day when, in a rare show of unity, members from both sides created an uproar demanding action against two police officers who had come to the state legislature complex to arrest the MLAs without authorisation. They also sought revocation of suspension of five MLAs accused of assaulting the officer.

BJP’s Girish Bapat said unless the two crime branch officers, who had come to Vidhan Bhawan on Wednesday to arrest the MLAs, were suspended and suspension of legislators revoked, the House cannot be allowed to function normally. He said as Sachin Suryavanshi was not on duty when he had visited Vidhan Bhawan, it was wrong for the police to invoke section 353 of the IPC relating to obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties against the legislators.

"This is injustice to the legislators," he said. He was supported by other MLAs who demanded announcement of suspension of the two crime branch officers immediately. The announcement regarding suspension of one of them was made in the legislative council on Thursday.

"The announcement of suspension of one of the officers was made in the legislative council on Thursday. Why was it not made in the lower house," Bapat said.

The agitated members demanded that the CCTV footage of beating up of the policeman be rechecked and if the MLAs were not seen doing what they had been accused of, their suspension rescinded.

As the din did not subside despite repeated request by the chair to allow the House to function, Deputy Speaker Vasant Purke adjourned it for the day after two adjournments of one hour each.

Except for laying of papers related to assurances given on the floor of the House during the debate on grants during the Budget Session of 2011, no other business could be transacted.

The legislative council too was adjourned for the day amid noisy scenes as members from both sides stalled the proceedings demanding the suspension of Suryavanshi for allegedly misbehaving with Kshitij Thakur.

Nationalist Congress Party MLC Hemant Takle raised the issue through a point of information and wanted to know why Thakur and Kadam were physically produced before the court instead of being heard through video conferencing. "This type of act of police personnel is highly objectionable. The proceedings of the House will not take place as long as Suryavanshi is not suspended," Takle said. Members across the political spectrum supported Takle and a din erupted.

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