Accused of protecting its MP allegedly involved in a double murder case, the NCP on Wednesday suspended Padamsinh Patil from its primary membership.
The Disciplinary Action Committee of the party met in New Delhi and decided to suspend the Lok Sabha member from Osamanabad in Maharashtra from the primary membership, party leader and Union Minister Praful Patel told a press conference on Wednesday.
The suspension comes three days after the arrest of Patil by CBI in connection with the murder of Congress leader Pawanraj Nimbalkar and his driver three years ago. There were growing demands from rival political parties that action should be taken against Patil and that NCP was trying to shield him.
"We are not not holding him guilty. But we would like to keep a distance as Patil faces the legal process. If he proves his innocence we will have no no problem in taking him back," Patel said.
The party was only following a convention in public life that a person who is facing investigations in a criminal case should not not be associated with the party, he said.
Replying to criticism that the party should have acted much earlier, Patel said Patil was arrested only on Sunday and there was a Parliament session on till Tuesday. "We did not not want to show a knee-jerk reaction towards a senior leader an MP."