February 5, 2009 12:10:05 pm
Exactly a year ago,Raj Thackerays Maharashtra Navnirman Sena took to the streets of Mumbai,launching a virulent campaign against migrants from north India. Days after his men assaulted taxi drivers and vendors from UP and Bihar,Thackeray was arrested,booked for instigating riots,among other things,and freed on bail.
But the Maharashtra government is yet to allow the police to chargesheet Thackeray in that case or three others filed against him later last year when the MNS continued to run amok. The outfit has a total of 84 cases registered against it across the country during this period and Thackerays name finds mention in 55 of those,including the four where he is the accused.
The Mumbai Police blames the unwarranted delay on the state Home Department,saying they are yet to get the necessary permission to chargesheet Thackeray.
We applied for sanction as early as May last year. Nine months down the line and despite several reminders,the state government is yet to respond to our letter, said R M Vatkar,DCP of Mumbai Polices Zone 7 division who is heading the investigations.
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Without sanction,police cannot go ahead as all three major sections used against Thackeray need prior sanction from the Home Department, he said.
When he was finally arrested for the first time on February 13,Thackeray was booked under Sections 153 (consciously provocating with intent to cause riot),153 A (promoting enmity between groups on the basis of places of birth,residence etc),153 B (assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 117 (abetting the commission of any offence by the public) of the Indian Penal Code. If convicted,he could be jailed for up to three years.
Home Department officials refused to speak on record. But one senior state government official,speaking on condition of anonymity,said it was unlikely Thackeray would ever be chargesheeted. Instead,the police might be asked to convert the cases into A Summary,he said,referring to a legal classification which means the case is true but undetected and ultimately closed.
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