Nagpur: The Maharashtra Assembly Speaker today ordered the suspension of a police officer for allegedly hurling abuse at NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal in his absence.
The opposition alleged that it was a breach of privilege, as Bhujbal is an MLA, while the ruling ally Shiv Sena demanded action in similar cases where its own MLAs were allegedly ill-treated by government officials.
Raising the issue, NCP's Jitendra Awhad said that sub-inspector Mahaveer Jadhav of Srigonda police station in Ahmednagar district barged into the house of a local person on June 8, and abused his family.
Jadhav also hurled abuse at Bhujbal, though the NCP leader had no connection whatsoever with the family, Awhad alleged. "I am providing the entire video clip (of the incident)...It is a deliberate attempt to insult the members of the House and a breach of their privilege," Awhad said.
Bhujbal himself too spoke about the incident. "I was abused despite having never visited that village. I do not have any connection with the family and the police official," he told the House. The leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said if no action was taken in this case, it would embolden officials to misbehave with MLAs.
"We represent and work for people. Yet there are cases when officials ill-treat people's representatives," Vikhe-Patil said.
Condemning the "ill-treatment" meted out to Bhujbal, the Shiv Sena's chief whip Sunil Prabhu cited two similar cases pertaining to his party's MLAs Nagesh Patil Ashtikar and Rajesh Kshirsagar and demanded action.
Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil urged Speaker Haribhau Bagade to take action. The Speaker then directed the government to suspend sub-inspector Jadhav immediately. However, Ashtikar and Kshirsagar insisted that action should be taken on their complaints too. Congress and NCP legislators supported them.
The Speaker called a group leaders' meeting, where it was decided that altogether seven MLAs, who have such complaints against government officials, would be allowed to raise the issue in the House tomorrow and the action in each case would be announced.
Independent MLA Bachchu Kadu, Congress's Nitesh Rane, AIMIM's Waris Pathan and Sharad Sonawane of the MNS also spoke on the issue. An ethics committee can be set up to deal with such cases on the lines of a similar panel in Parliament, they said.