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Half the city MLAs face criminal charges

NGO report card: Most cases pertain to rioting and breach of peace; some MLAs face serious charges too

Written by Stuti Shukla | Mumbai | Published: August 13, 2013 12:45:50 am

As many as 16 of the 32 Members of Legislative Assembly (excluding four ministers) from Mumbai have chargesheets filed against them as of December 2012. This was revealed by NGO Praja Foundation,which released a ‘report card’ on MLAs Monday.

Fifteen MLAs had FIRs against them in criminal cases as per election affidavits filed by them before the 2009 Assembly polls. Post elections,new criminal cases were registered against 10 MLAs till December 2012. “It proves the sorry state of criminalisation of politics in even a city such as Mumbai. Dropping of criminal charges or addition of new ones has seen major shifts in our ranking of MLAs,” said Praja’s Nitai Mehta.

Justice P B Sawant,retired Supreme Court judge said urgent electoral reforms were needed. “An urgent amendment to the law is needed that asks for suspension of a public representative against whom an FIR or chargesheet is filed,till the time he is acquitted by court. Having said that,it is also important to have a system that can check false FIRs,and false naming in chargesheets,” he said.

He added that the trend elected politicians with criminal cases against them is likely to have a direct bearing on the law and order situation in their areas.

While most cases pertain to political rioting and breach of peace,MLAs have been chargesheeted for other serious crimes,too. MNS’ Ram Kadam has been charged under Section 304 of the IPC for culpable homicide while seven MLAs have been charged under section 353 of IPC for assault on public servants.

Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi and MNS’ Pravin Darekar have been charged for hurt and extortion (sections 383 and 384 of IPC).

Darekar has the highest number of pending chargesheets against him — 12. He said that most of them were political motivated. “This happens all the time. Political rivals register false complaints and get our names included in the chargesheet. Last month,the Ratnagiri district court acquitted me in a rioting case,” said Darekar.

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