Even as the Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday that there were a staggering 4,122 criminal cases pending against present and former MPs and MLAs in the country, three out of the four Lok Sabha MPs in Pune district on Wednesday said they have no criminal cases pending against them.
On Tuesday, the data received from states and high courts by the Supreme Court showed that there were 2,324 cases pending against incumbent MPs and MLAs. As many as 1,675 cases are pending against former MPs and MLAs. The SC had sought the data to enable the setting up of adequate number of special courts for expedited trial in these cases.
Two of the four MPs in Pune district belong to the Shiv Sena — Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil from Shirur and Shrirang Barne from Maval — one is from NCP, Supriya Sule from Baramati, and another from BJP, Anil Shirole from Pune city.
Adhalrao revealed that there were a few criminal cases pending against him. “It is true that I have some criminal cases pending against me…,” he said. But, he claimed, “These are political cases filed against me for taking out morchas, participating in morchas and agitations of farmers… staging rasta rokos…”.
Sena MP Shrirang Barne said he once had a few criminal cases pending against him in court. “But I have been acquitted in all of them as the prosecution failed to prove any charges against me,” he said.
Adhalrao said cases being filed for “taking up public causes was a major headache as it hampered public work”. “The cases keep dragging on in courts for various reasons. For example, if I face a case along with 20 persons, then all of them have to be present in the court for hearings. If even one person is absent, then the hearing is adjourned. On the next date of hearing, another person remains missing. This goes on, leading to wastage of time, money and energy,” he said.
Supriya Sule’s secretary, Rashmi Kamtekar, said there were no criminal cases pending against Sule. While Shirole was not available for comment, his son Siddharth Shirole said the Pune city MP had no criminal cases pending against him. Shirole’s office confirmed this.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Satish Patil said usually, Section 68 and 69 of the Bombay Police Act is slapped against those violating public order. “They are detained and released later. No trial is conducted in such cases,” he said. But, said Patil, those charged under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code — violating public order promulgated by a public servant — and sections 141, 143 and 149 of IPC, pertaining to unlawful assembly, are prosecuted.
“Many times, the government of the day withdraws the cases, especially those filed against their own leaders,” said a senior police officer.