The Maharashtra Assembly was stunned on Tuesday when a group of MLAs from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went berserk and assaulted a policeman for allegedly misbehaving with MNS legislator Kshitij Thakur.
Several top police officials, including Director-General of Police (DGP) Sanjeev Dayal and Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, lodged their protest with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil. The incident was condemned by senior leaders from various political parties, including MNS chief Raj Thackeray.
The official concerned, Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Suryavanshi of the Worli Police Station, had fined Kshitij Thakur, MLA and son of Bahujan Vikas Party leader Hitendra Thakur, for over speeding on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link on Monday.
Thakur was travelling at a speed of around 100 kmph, while the limit is 50 kmph.
This led to an argument. Thakur, thereafter, lodged a complaint with the deputy speaker of the Legislative Assembly and moved a privilege motion on Tuesday morning. The officer was summoned to the House to make a statement. Thakur alleged that Suryavanshi misbehaved with him.
He found support from other legislators, who rushed into the well of the House demanding action against the official. After five such adjournments, some of the legislators spotted Suryavanshi seated in the visitors’ gallery and claimed that he made lewd gestures.
Thereafter, a group of angry MLAs assaulted Suryavanshi. Those involved in the attack included Kshitij Thakur, Ram Kadam of the MNS, Rajan Salvi and Pradeep Jaiswal of the Shiv Sena, and Jaykumar Rawal of the BJP.
Describing the attack on the police official as unprecedented in the history of the state legislature, the chief minister said: “The incident is the most reprehensible act, and I deplore it. Investigations are on, and guilty will not be spared. Action will be taken tomorrow itself against anyone found guilty.”
He refused to spell out what action would be taken and added that the CCTV and mobile camera footage was being examined.
Thakur and Ram Kadam denied that Suryavanshi was beaten up. “The footage will show that Suryavanshi was not beaten up. I was pushed by Suravanshi and I fell flat. Angry MLAs reacted to my fall and the official could be injured in the melee. It was not the MLAs who beat him up as is being projected by the media,” they said.
Brandishing a CD of the video footage shot from his mobile phone, Thakur said: “I paid Rs 700 as fine for over speeding by my driver. Spotting two different sections in the fine receipt, I sought clarification. Suryavanshi started behaving arrogantly. I then told him that I am an MLA. If he can behave so arrogantly with an MLA, I wonder how he would be behaving with the aam aadmi. If I am found guilty, I will resign.”