The state legislature on Wednesday suspended five MLAs from the house till December 31, 2013, for assaulting a police sub-inspector (PSI) in the Vidhan Bhavan a day earlier.
Kshitij Thakur (Bahujan Vikas Aghadi — BVA), Ram Kadam (MNS), Rajan Salvi (Shiv Sena), Jaykumar Rawal (BJP) and Pradeep Jaiswal (Independent — who is now with the Shiv Sena) will not be allowed to enter the legislature premises in Mumbai and Nagpur till the end of the year.
After deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar finished presenting the state budget, parliamentary affairs minister Harshavardhan Patil moved the motion to suspend the MLAs. It was approved by the assembly through a voice vote.
PSI Sachin Suryavanshi invited the wrath of Thakur, MLA from Nalasapora, for pulling him up for speeding on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) on Monday. The next day, around 12.30pm, minutes after Thakur moved a privilege motion against Suryavanshi, the PSI was allegedly assaulted by the MLA and other like-minded colleagues outside room number 114 even though he pleaded: “Malaa maaru naka (please do not beat me).”
Thakur is the son of Vasai strongman and former MLA Hitendra Thakur while Suryavanshi is attached to the Worli traffic police chowky.
Kadam, however, alleged that around 50 MLAs confronted Suryavanshi after he made indecent gestures at Thakur from the visitors’ gallery at Vidhan Bhavan. He said the PSI pushed him first and that the altercation began after that.
A case was registered against 15 people and the investigation was transferred to the crime branch of the Mumbai police on Tuesday.
Sources close to Suryavanshi told DNA that he failed to record the argument between Thakur and him near the BWSL on his mobile phone. “A person sitting in Thakur’s car started recording the argument midway on his mobile phone. Suryavanshi also took out his mobile and tried to record it as evidence. However, when he checked his phone later, he found out that it had not been recorded due to some technical glitch,” said the PSI’s colleague in the Worli traffic division. The officer said the video recorded by Thakur’s man does not reveal the entire conversation. “It does not reflect what he told Suryavanshi as it was not recorded from the beginning,” he said.
The incident in the Vidhan Sabha sparked outrage across the political spectrum with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan calling the attack ‘reprehensible’. Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil even apologised to the state, police and the legislature. Walse-Patil said such an incident had not taken place in the state till now and that it would adversely impact the prestige of the legislature.
The assault prompted IPS officers, including director general of police Sanjeev Dayal and police commissioner Satyapal Singh, to meet Chavan. They apprised him of the fears and the unease within the police force following the shameful attack.
CCTVs may nail them
Crime branch of the Mumbai police has made substantial progress in the probe. “Some CCTV footage show the MLAs assaulted PSI Sachin Suryavanshi. They are likely to be arrested soon,” a police officer said
Himanshu Roy, joint police commissioner (crime), however, said it is inappropriate to talk about arrests at this stage. “We have collected two CCTV clips and examined them. The footage of some more CCTVs are awaited,” he said
Opposition leader Eknath Khadse alleged that only opposition MLAs were suspended.
Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said his party won’t keep quiet if only Sena-BJP leaders are punished