The state government will stand by the 13 police officers and personnel who were recently convicted in the Lakhan Bhaiyya encounter case by a sessions court, home minister RR Patil told the assembly on Friday.
He said the government would use its discretionary powers after the upper courts gave their verdicts, to consider if the punishment could be reduced.
Replying to a debate on the law and order situation in the state, Patil said although the police did not have the liberty to utilise their powers and weapons according to their whim, the government would stand by them in case of bonafide mistakes.
It would take care of the family members of the 13 police officers and personnel who were convicted in the case, he said.
“We will consider converting the punishment into monetary fine. We will throw all our weight to reduce the punishment or pardon them,” Patil said.
It is the duty of the government to stand by the police personnel, he added.
“There is no doubt that the families of the police officers and personnel are in distress for no fault of theirs. They will be allowed to stay in the government quarters until the final verdict.
They will continue to get the salaries of the personnel as per their entitlement during the suspension,” he said.
The announcement came after the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had said they would shoulder the responsibility of the legal expenses of the case in the higher courts. The two parties had attacked the state government for doing nothing while the officers were facing punishment for their commitment to duty.
Thirteen policemen and eight others were recently convicted in the fake encounter killing of Ram Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiyya, an alleged aide of underworld don Chhota Rajan, in 2006, and were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The verdict has reportedly demoralised a section of the police force.