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Nov 27, 2012 at 04:24pm IST

Bal Thackeray Facebook post arrests: Thane rural SP, SI suspended

Mumbai: Thane Superintendent of Police (rural) and Palghar police station Sub-Inspector have been suspended for disobeying the orders of superiors while arresting two girls for a Facebook post on late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Thane SP (rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar has been suspended after IG Konkan Range recommended departmental action against the officer.

Announcing the suspension in Mumbai on Monday, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil said that from now on police have been authorised to apply the Information technology Act only after consulting legal experts. "This decision has been taken by the state government. Thane (rural) SP and Palghar Sub-Inspector has been suspended for disobeying the orders of superiors," said Patil.

Earlier, Palghar first-class magistrate Ramchandra Bagade, who had given bail to two girls arrested for a Facebook post on late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray on a bond of Rs 15,000 each, was transferred by the Bombay High Court. Bagade's transfer came over a week after a girl from Palghar in Thane was arrested for a Facebook post in which she had asked why Mumbai was virtually shut down during Bal Thackeray's funeral. Her friend was arrested for liking the post.

The 21-year-old in Palghar had also told CNN-IBN she was not traumatised and had only apologised for she feared for the safety of her family. The girls were arrested on a complaint by Bhushan Sankhe, a Shiv Sena shakha pramukh and the clinic of an uncle of one of the girls was ransacked by a mob protesting against the Facebook comment.

After a high level inquiry, charges were finally dropped against the 21-year-old girl who posted comments on Bal Thackeray. The Inspector General Konkan Range had on November 23 submitted his investigation report into the arrest of the two girls. In his report, the IG said that the arrest of the girls by the police was unjustified.

The probe report also recommended action against the police officials involved in the arrest of the girls. It said that there must be departmental action against the policemen for arresting them. The report also questioned the local policemen for defying top officers in arresting the girls. The 150-page report was sent to the state government, which took action on the basis of it.

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