Mumbai: A police officer who dared to fine an MLA for alleged over-speeding, was today beaten up right inside the Vidhan Bhavan by a group of legislators and had to be carried on a stretcher.
Sachin Suryavanshi, an Assistant Police Inspector attached to the Worli police station, was beaten up by a group of MLAs outside the visitors gallery after he allegedly made some "provocative" gestures.
Suryavanshi had yesterday stopped the vehicle of Kshitij Thakur, a Bahujan Vikas Agadhi MLA from Vasai, on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link when the latter was on way to attend the Assembly session, slapped a fine for speeding, and also allegedly misbehaved with him.
This morning, Thakur moved a breach of privilege notice against Suryavanshi and gave a detailed account of the policeman's "misbehaviour." Angered by Thakur's information, members cutting across party lines created an uproar and demanded the officer's suspension leading to an adjournment.
The officer was sighted in the visitor's gallery. Suryavanshi, according to some MLAs, was seen allegedly making some provocative gestures with his hand.
The MLA from Vasai identified the officer as one who had been rude to him following which Ram Kadam (MNS), Rajan Salvi (Shiv Sena), Pradeep Jaiswal (Independent) and Thakur himself among others, rushed outside. They caught hold of Suryavanshi right at the entrance to the visitors gallery on the first floor and thrashed him. BJP's Jaykumar Rawal (BJP) was also seen with them.
The MLAs' action drew sharp criticism from their own fraternity, besides the state and city police brass, who rushed to the assembly and met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to register protest.
"We had demanded the policeman's suspension and the action would have been taken. But, legislators taking law into their hands is not appropriate. We condemn this. MNS chief Raj Thackeray is extremely angry with party legislator Ram Kadam and fired me," Bala Nandgaonkar, the MNS group leader said. He said the party would accept any action against the legislators. "The party would take a decision on action against Ram Kadam as well," he said.
Maha CM Prithviraj Chavan promises strictest action
Condemning the beating up of a police officer by some MLAs within the Assembly premises, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said that based on the investigations into the incident strict action will be taken against those guilty.
Talking to reporters, the CM said that it was a "reprehensible" act which had never happened in the state legislature before and strictest action would be taken against the guilty.
About possible action against the guilty MLAs, he merely said that "criminal action and disciplinary action are two different things and will be known tomorrow".
He said that top cops of the state police met him to discuss the matter but did not divulge details of the meeting. He, however, said that the concerned police officer has the right to file an FIR.
In democracy, there can be different points of view, but nobody has right to take law into their hands and resort to violence. A detailed enquiry is on and video footage is being examined, he said.
Maha Speaker apologises
Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly, Dilip Walse Patil apologised to members of the House, general public and police after a section of MLAs beat up a cop in the Vidhan Bhavan building today for allegedly misbehaving with one of the legislators.
"Vidhan Sabha, including MLAs, is an institution and it is our duty as members to uphold its dignity," Walse Patil said after the House re-assembled following a series of adjournments over the issue.
"I apologise to people of the state, police as well as legislators. We are custodians of law. I need to take into account all aspects of the incidents which happened yesterday as well as today in Vidhan Bhavan," the Speaker said.