Govt suspends cops, HC shifts magistrate

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday suspended Thane Superintendent of Police (Rural) Ravindra Shengaonkar and Senior Police Inspector of Palghar Srikant Pingale for their role in ordering the arrest of Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivas for a post on social networking site Facebook.

On Monday, the Bombay High Court transferred Ramchandra Bagade, Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division and Judicial Magistrate First Class, Palghar, to Pachora in Jalgaon, on administrative grounds. Bagade had given the girls a bail for surety of Rs 15,000 each. Legal critics, however, had argued that the girls should have been discharged instead.

Home Minister R R Patil on Tuesday said the two police officers were suspended for acting in haste and not heeding to instructions from senior police officers who had advised them that the sections under which the girls were being charged were not proper. Top state police officers said the case against the two girls would be closed by filing a C summary report, which implies that the case was registered under confusion and amicably settled.

"A departmental inquiry too has been ordered against them," Patil said. Additional SP Sangram Nishandar has been warned by the state government and asked to be vigilant in the future. "If they had applied the law properly this entire issue of suspension would not have happened," the minister said.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is learnt to have prevailed upon Patil to act against the officers. The two had a long discussion Tuesday morning on the inquiry report submitted by the Inspector General of Police (Konkan range) and the Home Department's recommendations.

Shengaonkar has been blamed for not heeding to the advice of senior officials including Inspector General of Police and Additional Director General of Police who had asked him not to act in haste. Pingle has been castigated for applying the wrong sections in charging the girls and making wrong records.

"The police force works on order and command. Despite instructions from senior officers not to act in haste, the arrests were carried out. This amounts to indiscipline," Patil said.

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