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HC questions Maha govt on political vandalism

February 04, 2010 01:07 IST

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government on Wednesday, as to whether it found any evidence of involvement of top leaders of Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Congress in incidents of political vandalism in the state in recent past.
"Have you prosecuted Bal Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray? Have you prosecuted Raj Thackeray? Narayan Rane?," asked the division bench of acting Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice B R Gawai.The bench asked the additional chief secretary, home, to file an affidavit in this regard within two weeks.
The court's direction came during hearing on a public interest litigation based on letter written by former Indian Police Service officer Julio Rebeiro. Rebeiro had mentioned four incidents in 2008: the attack on Mumbai University by MNS students' wing, the attack on Shiv Sena workers on Hotel Intercontinental, the attack on the office of Marathi newspaper Navakal by supporters of Congress leader Narayan Rane, and another incident in Thane.
Rebeiro had said in the letter to the high court that using provisions of Bombay Police Act, government should recover damages from political parties in such cases where public/private

property is destroyed. He also demanded that leaders of these parties, including Bal Thackeray, be prosecuted.
Referring to this letter, the HC asked the government to file "a specific reply" regarding culpability or non-culpability of these leaders. 
Earlier, additional government pleader Niranjan Pandit told the court that compensation was recovered in three cases, barring the Navakal incident.
He also said the respective leaders of Sena, MNS and Congress (Rane's supporters) who led the attacks were booked and chargesheeted. However, the court was not satisfied with the reply. "Leaders means top leaders," said Justice Patel. "We want to know whether leaders mentioned in the letter were found to be involved (in instigating the attacks)," the court said, adjourning hearing for two weeks.

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