Molestation case will be thoroughly probed: Patil

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Mumbai, Jan 4 (UNI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, who also holds the Home portfolio, today assured that the molestation case of two California-based girls by New Year revellers here in the early hours of January 1, will be thoroughly investigated.

Appropriate action will be taken against the culprits, Mr Patil told reporters here after attending a meeting at the police commissionerate.

He said the state government will prevail upon the Centre to amend the relevant laws to ensure harsh punishment for perpetrators of such crime.

While confirming that 14 people have been arrested in the case so far, Mr Patil said the state will endeavour to secure maximum punishment for the guilty so as to serve as a deterrant and prevent recurrence of such events in future.

The High Court would also be requested to have the case tried in a Fast-track court for speedy trials, Mr Patil added.

The Deputy Chief Minister, however, lauded the police saying they had done good work in maintaining law and order during the New Year celebrations, taking a lesson from last year's molestation incident at the Gateway of India on the New Year day.

Asked about today's meeting at the police commissionerate, Mr Patil described it as a routine meeting. Police Commissioner D N Jadhav and Additional Police Commissioner Archana Tyagi attended the meeting.

Mr Patil said the issue of vacancies in the police department in the state was also discussed in the meeting. There are 55,000 vacancies at present which would be filled up in phases, he added.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Executive president Uddhav Thackeray, while condemning the molestation incident, said the lensmen, who had clicked the incident, should have 'hit' the molestors with their cameras.

''The photographers should have hit the molestors with their cameras and pinned them down on the spot,'' Mr Thackeray told reporters after the inauguration of a newly-renovated 150-year-old heritage museum here today.

Mr Thackeray said the accused, after being identified, should be paraded through the city.

UNI ST/GS/IAS HS HT1512

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