Tussle between cops, politicos hits home, Patil’s task cut out

  • Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
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  • Updated: Mar 31, 2013 00:40 IST

As the police versus politician face-off turns uglier by the day, with no sign of resolution even 13 days after a group of legislators allegedly beat up a summoned traffic cop in Vidhan Sadan, the pressure is mounting on state home minister RR Patil, who has the unenviable task of keeping both the disgruntled MLAs and the smarting cops in good humour.

And now with the possibility of the probe getting stuck due to various reasons, including the unavailability of CCTV footage of the incident, Patil will have to walk a tightrope — keep the MLAs angst from boiling over, while ensuring the morale of the police force is not affected.

Besides, with Patil himself expressing doubts over the evidence value of the CCTV footage of the incident, questions are being raised whether there will be a proper investigation.

“The general impression is that the government is dragging its feet on the investigation by asking the police to go slow on identifying and arresting other legislators. The police won’t be happy that the persons who beat up a cop are getting away with it, and the situation became more complicated with [PSI Sachin] Suryavanshi’s suspension,” said a senior minister.

“Patil would have been happy to give a free hand to the police, but the problem is that a large chunk of legislators from across parties are opposed to any strong action. They are convinced that Suryavanshi’s rude behaviour was equally responsible for the incident. This is why Patil has to tread carefully. He or his party cannot afford to antagonise MLAs from all parties,” he added.

Expectedly, both the sides are unhappy with the government in general and the home minister in particular. And this could be just the beginning.

Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai slammed Patil for taking several hasty steps against legislators. “Patil’s statement that the CCTV footage was inconclusive is surprising considering they have already taken steps to arrest some legislators,” Desai said.

Former cops, meanwhile, have questioned the police probe. There are no answers on why no identification parade of the legislators was conducted, or why the statements of the security guards and workers in Vidhan Bhavan who witnessed the fight are inconclusive.


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