It is a rare occasion when Home Minister R R Patil loses his cool, but criticism about the implementation of the dance bar ban in the state irked him enough to make comments dripping with sarcasm in the assembly yesterday.
The Home Minister was upset when he was asked what he had achieved by banning dance bars as the business was still around in spite of the ban.
Patil said he had not banned dance bars on a mere whim, but because he was convinced of the ill effects of dance bars.
“I did not assume charge as the home minister because I had taken a contract to ban dance bars,” Patil said while replying to a discussion on the law and order situation. “The decision (to ban dance bars) was taken to prevent the younger generation from getting spoiled by the dance bar culture. The entire system was getting corrupt because of it and the business had become synonymous with crime.”
He informed the House that the police had registered 305 cases against dance bars and arrested 2,427 people.
On the issue of the falling conviction rate, Patil said 25 reasons had been identified for the unhappy situation and that one of them was the creation of separate prosecution and investigation wings, a move aimed at promoting specialisation but which he claimed had ended up giving rise to lack of coordination.
He also expressed displeasure over the performance of public prosecutors appointed by the state government. He said a committee under the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) would be asked to work on the issue.
Patil also asked the Opposition members how the police performance was supposed to improve if the law enforcers were criticised for anything and everything they did, whether good or bad.
Without naming ACP Vasant Dhoble, who has been much criticised in the media of late for raiding restaurants and bars and with a hockey stick in hand, Patil said if the police use batons to control anything, they are accused of highhandedness, while if they do not act, they are sure to face criticism.
The Home Minister illustrated the plight of the police by likening them to goalkeepers.
“Our job has made us a goalkeeper,” he said, speaking for the men in khaki. “We are not praised for stopping goals attempted by opponents. But if we fail to stop a goal, criticism follows.”
Much to the surprise of the House, the Home Minister was critical of the law to regulate transfers and postings.
“The time has come to say that even corruption is not as much a nuisance as the misuse of the act to regulate transfers,” he said. “Some of the officers, once transferred to a post, think no one can touch them. Some officers of the rank of ACP have been refusing to meet even DCPs.”
On the money-laundering allegations levelled against Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare by former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, he chided BJP members and said that Somaiya in his political career had complained against “almost everyone except the US President”.
He said his department was going through the evidence regarding the allegations of stashing money in dubious companies floated by Tatkare’s son. BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis had raised the issue in his speech.