Will Mumbai police commissioner follow his own orders and punish MLAs?

Mar 21, 2013, 09:25 IST | Bhupen Patel and Vinay Dalvi

Last year, Satyapal Singh had issued a circular laying down stringent penalty for those who attack men in khaki, including revoking driving licence, not renewing passport, blocking employment, etc. He is, however, tight-lipped if the same measures will be meted out to MLAs who attacked an API in the assembly

In the wake of severe assaults on the city’s cops during the Azad Maidan riots last year, the police were asked to teach rioters a lesson, with a circular issued by Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh asking his subordinates to take exceptionally harsh steps against those who assaulted men in khaki. Options ranged from rejecting their passport applications, blacklisting records with their employers, blocking their registrations at the employment exchange, and even permanently revoking their driving licences.

Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh

Now, in the wake of the shocking assault launched on Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi by a group of legislators in the Vidhan Bhavan, it remains to be seen if the city’s police force will put their money where their mouth is, follow their own rules, and subject the errant legislators to the punishment that they had decided upon.

Strength in numbers: A day after one of their colleagues was thrashed by the state's legislators in Vidhan Bhavan, droves of policemen were seen outside the assembly. Pic/Sayed Sameer  Abedi

In a story dated October 20 2012, MiD DAY had reported that Singh had issued a circular instructing that a special crime sheet be drawn up against those who dared to assault the men in khaki (‘Beat a cop, lose your identity.’) He decreed that those involved in crimes against men in khaki would be subjected to cancellation of driving licence, passport, employment exchange number and a lookout notice would be issued against them under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act.

Photographs and fingerprints would be taken from the accused, and copies of documents such as PAN card, passport, Aadhar card, gun licence, driving licence and records of business or employment would be taken. A summary of the crime was to be included with these documents and sent to the respective departments for cancellation.

(Left) Ram Kadam and (Right) Kshitij Thakur refused to leave the Assembly till late in the evening.

This circular, touted as a ‘Diwali’ gift from the top brass, was issued to boost the beleaguered morale of the force, which was disheartened in the wake of several attacks. It was also intended as a salve for cops who felt that their leaders had no backed them up in critical situations.

This time, however, Dr Singh and DG Police Sanjeev Dayal have shown a united front, standing up for their officer. But it waits to be seen if the commissioner will execute his own orders — not against a member of the common populace ths time, but against a bunch of VIPs who thrashed one of his own men.

Close on the heels of the assault, the Mumbai police have registered a case against MLAs Ram Kadam, Kshitij Thakur, and 14-15 others involved in the assault, based on the complaint of the victim API Suryavanshi. The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch, but the accused are yet to be arrested.

Having applied the correct sections in the case (see box), the cops are now tight-lipped about whether they will apply their extreme new rules to the MLAs. Asked if action would be taken against MLAs as per the circular, Satyapal Singh did not respond.

Cops pore over cctv footage
Mumbai crime branch, which has been handed the case of attack on Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi inside the Maharashtra Assembly has asked for CCTV footage of the incident.

MiD DAY’s report on October 20, 2012, highlighting the circular. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi, Bipin Kokate

The crime branch has gone through some CCTV footage and has demanded more angles of the video to get a better picture of all those involved in beating up the API, who had stopped Vasai MLA Kshitij Thakur for speeding on the Bandra Worli Sea Link on Monday. Later Suryavanshi was called to Vidhan Bhavan to settle the matter and while he was sitting outside deputy chairman of the council Vasant Davkhare’s office, he was pounded and punched by MLAs Thakur and Kadam, who he has named in the FIR, along with other 15 MLAs.“We have gone through one CCTV footage but have demanded more from the assembly to get a better picture,” said a crime branch officer.

Sections under which the MLAs have been booked
Section 143. Punishment for unlawful assembly — Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
Section 341. Punishment for wrongful restraint — Whoever wrongfully restrains any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term that may extend to one month, or with fine, which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
Section 353. Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty the person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 504. Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace- shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 334. Voluntarily causing hurt; such person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to one year, or with fine that may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Section 506. Punishment for criminal intimidation — such person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

The following action should be taken against a person who attacks a cop
>> Inform the passport office about the crime committed by the concerned person and object to the renewal of issuance of the passport of the accused.
>> Inform the Employment Exchange about the accused and ask them to not offer any employment opportunities to the same.
>> Inform all the airports about the accused and send a lookout notice (LOC) and ask them to detain the person, and thereafter prevent him or her to leave the country without the permission from the court.
>> Inform authorities of Special Branch (G) that gives character certificate about the police having an objection to issuing any such certificate to the accused.
>> If possible, book the accused under MPDA.
>> If the person who has attacked the police has a firearm, licence should be cancelled.
>> Write to the RTO for cancellation of his or her driving licence.
>> Ask employers to blacklist the accused. 

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