Maharashtra assembly today suspended five MLAs involved in yesterday's assault on a police officer inside Vidhan Bhavan premises for the rest of the year and now they face the prospect of being arrested.
Showing no leniency towards its own members for their violent conduct, the House today passed by voice vote a resolution moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil to place the MLAs under suspension.
Those suspended for their involvement in the unsavoury incident are: Ram Kadam (MNS), Jaykumar Rawal (BJP), Kshitij Thakur (Bahujan Vikas Agadhi), Rajan Salvi (Shiv Sena) and Pradeep Jaiswal (Independent).
Making the announcement in the House, Patil said the MLAs' action was "serious and lowered the dignity of the august house".
During the course of their suspension till December 31, 2013 the MLAs would not only be barred from participating in the proceedings but will also not be allowed to enter the legislature premises in Mumbai and Nagpur.
Sachin Suryavanshi, an Assistant Police Inspector attached to the Worli police station, was beaten black and blue by a group of MLAs outside the visitors gallery at Vidhan Bhavan, state's legislature complex.
Suryavanshi had stopped the vehicle of Kshitij Thakur, a Bahujan Vikas Agadhi MLA, on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link on Monday when the latter was on way to attend the Assembly session and slapped a fine for speeding.
The MLAs had claimed that Suryavanshi "provoked" them with his gestures while seated in the visitors gallery after the House was adjourned amid din over the officer's alleged misbehaviour with Thakur.
Suryavanshi, according to sources in state Home Minister R R Patil's office, had denied he was present in the visitors' gallery.
Meanwhile, sources in the crime branch, which is probing the incident, has said some CCTV footage they have gone through clearly showed the MLAs thrashing Suryavanshi.
"The MLAs are likely to be arrested soon as there is substantial progress in the case," said a police officer on condition of anonymity.
However, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said the probe was on and it would not be appropriate to talk much at this stage.
"We have collected two CCTV clips and examined them. The footages of some more CCTVs are awaited," he added.
An FIR was registered with Marine Drive police station against MLAs Kshitij Thakur, Ram Kadam and around 14 others last night for the alleged assault on Suryavanshi.
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).
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh met Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil this evening at Vidhan Bhawan in the backdrop of the assault episode.
Thakur and Kadam, the two MLAs named in the FIR, were present in the Vidhan Bhawan building when Singh arrived in the legislature complex in South Mumbai. A large number of police personnel were present outside the premises.
Singh left after a short while and what transpired between him and the Speaker was not known.
There are indications that the legislators involved in the incident may present themselves before the police tomorrow, a Vidhan Bhawan official said.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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