Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe may finally get his passport renewed because the state government has decided to withdraw all cases lodged against those involved in political agitations on or before May 1, 2005.
The news has not only brought cheer to Congressman from Pune, but to leaders of other parties as well. However, this move will not exempt politicians with cases to do with any damage to life and property.
“In case of straightforward cases where there is no loss to life or property, it will be withdrawn,” Home Minister R.R. Patil said in a statement issued on Monday.
The cases involving damage to property could be withdrawn only after the leaders/workers involved pay compensation. “Respective district collectors will evaluate the damages. Any case can be withdrawn if the person accused pays up.”
All political cases against Bagwe were registered before May 2005. Bagwe told Hindustan Times: “I have been pursuing the matter with the home minister and am happy about the decision because it will bring huge respite to political workers, who get booked unnecessarily without having done any crime.”
Bagwe had found himself in the midst of controversy when the Pune Police listed cases against him, following which the Ministry of External Affairs denied him a passport.
Bagwe had locked horns with Pune Police commissioner Satyapal Singh. The tussle saw Bagwe randomly announce a decision to transfer the officer without consulting his senior minister. Later, Patil kept Singh’s transfer on hold but Singh’s junior officer told a press conference that 19 cases were registered against Bagwe and so he did not get his passport renewed.
The matter went up to the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party high command. Monday’s decision is said to be a result of truce between the alliance partners.
Shiv Sena group leader Subhas Desai said he would comment only after assessing as to who benefited most from the decision.