Mumbai: Five MLAs have been suspended till December 31 by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for assaulting a policeman in the Assembly building. Police has booked 16 MLAs for assault and is likely to make some arrests as well.
The Mumbai Crime Branch is also likely to arrest two of them - Bahujan Vikas Aghadi's Kshitij Thakur and MNS's Ram Kadam - for leading the assault on Suryavanshi, a police inspector. Several charges have been slapped on the two MLAs and 14 others, all bailable offences.
The matter has been handed over to the Crime Branch, where a separate team has been formed to probe the incident. Members of the state police's top brass earlier met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanding action in the matter.
"The charges have been framed in accordance with the law and in consultation with senior members of the police force," said RR Patil, Home Minister, Maharashtra. The MLAs have said they were provoked by Suryavanshi who made indecent gestures to them while they were in the House.
The main accused MLA Kshitij Thakur had an altercation with Suryavanshi a day earlier over a speeding ticket, but the police inspector has said the group of more than 10 people, including Thakur and Kadam, ganged up on him unprovoked and assaulted him. Police sources said it is improbable that a police officer of Suryavanshi's rank would have the bravado to provoke the MLAs while they were present in the House.
Videographic evidence is expected to shed light on both versions of events. For now, the suspension is the first step the Legislative Assembly has taken on five of its own members.