The police have registered a criminal case against Suresh Lad, Nationalist Congress Party MLA from Karjat in Raigad district, for reportedly slapping a government officer and officials from a private company. The legislator is likely to be arrested soon, the police said.
Suresh Lad had hit the deputy collector and an employee of a private firm on August 11 over the issues of the land acquisition for a gas pipeline project. After the video of the attack surfaced on social media, the district administration initiated the action.
The local administration had deployed heavy police force on Wednesday night amid tension over the possibility of the arrest of the MLA. A few companies of the state reserve police were deployed in Karjat till midnight. The case was registered late on Wednesday night under charges of assault and obstructing a public servant from executing his duties.
An official from the Raigad district administration said, “The situation is under control now and the police force has been withdrawn. The arrest may take place during the course of investigation.”
Lad — who was leading a delegation of villagers agitating against the land acquisition for the gas pipeline being laid by a private company — indulged in manhandling and reportedly slapped the deputy collector and an official from the company. When the officer kept pleading with the legislator to stop,Lad threatened him to lodge an FIR against the officer.
The MLA has however denied the charges, saying the uproar was against the officials of the private company which is illegally acquiring the plots of the farmers. “We had a fight against the officers from the company as it has not following the due procedure of the land acquisition. I don’t know why the meetings to resolve the dispute were kept at the company’s office instead of at the collector’s office.
“There was skirmish between us and the company officials, but we never took on any government official,” Lad told HT. The district administration has taken the thrashing of the officer very seriously. “The officer was deputed in Karjat as competent authority for the land acquisition for the gas pipe line being laid in three districts. The officer has lodged complaint with Palghar collector and the course of action would be decided very shortly,” said Satish Bagal, resident deputy collector of Raigad.
The Raigad and Palghar wings of Maharashtra State Gazetted Officers Federation have convened meetings on Friday to protest the attack. “We have decided to demand suspension of the elected representative from the respective statutory body for attacking a government officer. We will soon meet chief minister Devendra Fadnavis over the issue as such attacks are on the rise,” said GD Kulthe, chief advisor of the federation.
Meanwhile, Lad’s party has rallied behind him and said that the legislator was fighting for farmers’ rights. “Why has the officer not lodged the complaint for last six days? If Lad has slapped the officer, we should also look into the background of the matter and the entire video clipped should be scanned. The company was arbitrarily grabbing the land of the farmers and the officer was acting as the agent of the company,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.
March 29, 2016 : Independent MLA Bacchu Kadu slaps deputy secretary BR Gavit for not allotting government quarters to a clerk recommended by the legislator. A criminal complaint was lodged against Kadu.
March 19, 2013 : A group of MLAs beat up assistant police inspector Sachin Suryavanshi inside the Vidhan Bhavan for misbehaving with fellow legislator Kshitij Thakur. Days before the incident, the police officer fines him for exceeding the speed limit on Bandra-Worli sea link. The legislators is later suspended from the state Assembly for few days.
January 2011: The then MNS MLA Harshavardhan Jadhav attacks a woman constable and beats up a sub-inspector on bandobast during a visit of the chief minister in Aurangabad. The MLAs is later beaten up by the police to maintain law and order.