Cop beating: Two Maharashtra legislators surrender to police

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Sachin Suryawanshi
Mumbai, March 21: After pressure from public and Maharashtra satrap Sharad Pawar, two Maharashtra legislators, today surrendered before the police here. Five MLAs had allegedly assaulted traffic police sub-inspector Sachin Suryawanshi inside the state legislature.

Kshitij Thakur and Ram Kadam surrendered before at the police headquarters and their statements were being recorded. "The formalities to arrest them are underway. After their arrest, the duo will be produced before a local court later in the day," a crime branch official said.

An FIR was registered at Marine Drive police station against Thakur, Kadam (MNS) and 14 others on Tuesday (March 19) for allegedly beating the 31-year-old police sub inspector with Worli Traffic Police at Vidhan Bhawan. Later, crime branch took over the investigations.

The accused have been booked under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation), sources said.

Suryawanshi had stopped the vehicle of Thakur on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link when the MLA was on his way to attend the Legislative Assembly Session. Thakur was reportedly fined because his vehicle had exceeded the speed limit. There was an altercation between the legislator and the policeman, during which the latter allegedly misbehaved with the MLA.

Following the incident, the policeman was thrashed at the entrance to the visitors gallery in the the House, by a group of legislators including Thakur, Kadam, Rajan Salvi (Shiv Sena), Pradeep Jaiswal (Independent), among others.

Suryawanshi, who is undergoing treatment at the St George hospital in South Mumbai, yesterday said in a statement that he was attacked by the legislators after he had come out of Legislative Council Deputy Chairman Vasant Davkhare's office on the first floor and was sitting on a bench, about to leave for the canteen.

The Mumbai police, meanwhile, have analysed CCTV images of the incident and prima facie, the clips suggest there was no provocation by Suryavanshi. He was cornered and assaulted by the MLAs and several others in the corridor of Vidhan Bhawan.

"We have viewed two clips of CCTV footage, both are five to seven minutes in length and show Suryavanshi receiving blows," said a crime branch officer.

Police have also sought footage of the alleged argument between Thakur and Suryavanshi on Bandra-Worli Sea Link on Monday that led to the assault.

Pawar wanted action

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had asked the Maharashtra government to take stern action against the legislators who beat up a police officer. "I appeal to the Maharashtra government that those who are responsible for the offence should be dealt sternly as per law so that a message goes out that there is rule of law in the state", he said in a statement.

Pawar, who had been a member of the state legislature for 27 long years, said he felt "ashamed". Pawar told the legislators that their dignity would not enhance by taking law into their own hands and they should send a clear signal to the people that they distance from such elements.

His statement came close on the heels of an incident in Mumbai where a police officer who dared to fine an MLA for alleged over-speeding, was beaten up right inside the Vidhan Bhavan by a group of legislators and had to be carried on a stretcher.

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