Supriya Sule, MP and daughter of Sharad Pawar the president of the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), on Saturday demanded capital punishment for all those who are convicted of the 23-year-old photo journalist’s gang rape.
Sule told dna that “these men should be hanged in public so that a strong message is conveyed to the society. Not even animals behave in the despicable manner in which these men have behaved with the victim. Nothing short of capital punishment will give justice to her.”
Sule also countered the opposition’s demand for the resignation of the home minister of Maharashtra, RR Patil, who belongs to her party. “Patil is a man of conviction and is doing his best under the current circumstances.
Removing him will not solve the problem of atrocities on women. Instead we need to strengthen his hands. Under his leadership, the Mumbai police have done a commendable job of nabbing the culprits quickly. I am proud of Mumbai police. The overall issue of governance is there, but this can be tackled collectively by all the stakeholders. This is not the time to indulge in blame game.”
It is learnt that Patil told Pawar that he was willing to step down if that helped the party and the government. After the terror attacks of 26/11, Pawar had asked him to put in his papers, which he did so promptly. However, this time around Pawar appears to be inclined to let Patil keep his job. A senior NCP legislator stated, “We have been told that Pawarsaheb wants Patil to continue.’’
Apparently Pawar does not want to give an impression that he succumbed to pressure from the BJP and the MNS, which have demanded the sacking of the diminutive Patil.
Pawar is upset at the extremely harsh language used by the MNS chief Raj Thackeray against Patil and also by his decision to send bangles to the home minister.
On Saturday, MNS activists from across the state had sent hundreds of bangles to Patil. Following reports that MNS activists may storm Patil’s official bungalow ‘Chitrakoot’ in Malabar Hill, a tight security cordon was thrown around it.
NCP sources said Raj was upset with Patil since the latter had taken a tough stance against him when he launched his violent campaign against migrants.
Even though Patil has got some respite for now, he is under tremendous pressure to show results. He has now been authorised by the state cabinet to decide on the Rs800 crore-plus mega project to install as many as 6,000 CCTV cameras across Mumbai. This is the largest project of its kind in the country.
The decision to install these intelligent cameras along with mobile control facilities was taken in the wake of the 26/11 attack. However, the project could not take off since the Ahmedabad-based company which bagged the contract declared bankruptcy subsequently.
Patil is also required to remove the glitches in the criminal justice system so that the rate of conviction is improved. An early decision on a successor to the Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh is also expected to be made by Patil in consultation with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Singh is due for promotion to the rank of director-general of police in the coming weeks. Due to legal glitches, there is no plan to temporarily upgrade the commissioner’s post, which is currently of the rank of additional DG, to that of DG.
If these hitches were not there then Singh, who has completed only a year in office, would have been retained.
Earlier there were indications that senior IPS officer Javed Ahmed would be appointed as the commissioner. But, the government appears to be zeroing in on Rakesh Maria, who is a veteran sleuth and enjoys the confidence of Sharad Pawar. He currently heads the Anti-Terrorism Squad.