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Mumbai arrests: Two cops suspended, magistrate shifted

Press Trust Of India  |  Mumbai 

Two police officers, including the Thane (Rural) police chief, were on Tuesday suspended for the arrest of two girls over a Facebook post criticising the near-total Mumbai shutdown following the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, while the judicial magistrate who remanded them to custody was shunted out.

Ravindra Sengaonkar, superintendent of police, and senior police inspector, Shrikant Pingle, have been suspended and a departmental inquiry ordered against them, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil told reporters.

He assured the departmental inquiry would be completed in the shortest possible time. Patil said Sangram Nishandar, additional SP, has been “warned in writing and reprimanded” for dereliction of duty.

“Wrong sections were applied against the girls. There was no need to take hasty action (against the girls),” Patil said, adding senior officers will probe what charges can be dropped.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court transferred judicial magistrate R G Bagade, who first remanded Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan in custody and granted bail to them.

The two were arrested last Monday after the former posted a Facebook status regretting the November 18 shutdown and the latter "liked" it.

Though Dhada had not named Thackeray, a local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the two girls on November 19, sparking an outrage. A hospital owned by Dhada's uncle was also vandalised despite the girl apologising for her post.

The arrest had set off a debate with some legal experts maintaining that instead of remanding and then enlarging the girls on bail, Bagade should have discharged them from the case as they had been booked under wrong sections.

Bagade's transfer order issued yesterday by the Registrar of the Bombay High Court said, “JMFC at Palghar R G Bagade is hereby transferred in the same position to Jalgaon with immediate effect.”

Patil said SP Shengaokar was placed under suspension for disobeying his superiors, who had advised against arresting the girls. Inspector Pingle invited action for charging them under wrong sections and preparing faulty records, he said.

First Published: Wed, November 28 2012. 00:10 IST