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Minister faces 19 cases,so no passport: Pune cops

The ugly battle between Maharashtra’s junior minister for home and the police commissioner of Pune flared up again today.

Written by Express News Service | Pune/mumbai |
May 14, 2010 3:10:03 am

The ugly battle between Maharashtra’s junior minister for home and the police commissioner of Pune flared up again today. Minister Ramesh Bagwe told reporters that Commissioner Satyapal Singh had failed in his duties and could be transferred out soon; hours later,the police revealed that Bagwe’s application for a passport had been rejected because there were 19 cases against him.

“We received a letter from the Pune passport office on January 8,2010,seeking verification about the Minister. It was found during verification that he was booked in 15 cognizable and four non-cognizable offences. We informed the same to the passport office on February 8,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch) Lakhmi Gautam told reporters.

Pressed for details of the charges against Bagwe,Gautam said he would have to check. Asked again in the evening,Gautam said the records were with the Crime Branch.

Sources in the passport office said Bagwe had been told his application had been rejected following a negative report from the police,and that he would now have to get a court order to have the application processed.

Earlier in the day,Bagwe had told reporters his version of the story. “I had applied for the renewal of my passport about two years ago. There are only three offences registered against me,all of which are political in nature. I was acquitted in one other case last year,” he said.

Bagwe added that he would resign if anyone could prove there were 19 cases against him. Without naming the commissioner,he said,“Some senior police officers have hatched a conspiracy along with the media to defame me. But I am not worried. My leaders Sonia Gandhi,Rahul Gandhi,Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and MP Suresh Kalmadi believe me.”

In a statement issued later in Mumbai,the Minister of State for Home said he was being targeted because he belonged to a “backward community”.

“There is not a single personal offence registered against me. All these cases are of participation in political agitation,morchas,dharnas. The allegations are totally baseless and motivated to spread hatred against me as I come from a backward community,” Bagwe said.

According to the Minister,the “conspiracy” began after his announcement in the Maharashtra Legislative Council on April 21 that Satyapal Singh would be transferred because he had failed to control crime in Pune. Though that announcement had been made without consulting either Home Minister R R Patil or Chief Minister Ashok Chavan,Bagwe today insisted Satyapal Singh could go “soon”.

“Chief Minister Ashok Chavan would be soon taking a decision about him,” he told reporters. Commissioner Singh was not available for a comment.

Ten days before Bagwe’s announcement in the Vidhan Parishad,Congress leaders from Pune had complained to R R Patil that Singh had failed to implement a verbal order from Bagwe that citizens’ complaints should be received at the level of the police chowki,rather than at the police station level.

Finally,on Thursday,Singh met several MLAs and MLCs and announced that from May 15,complaints would be taken at police chowkies.

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