The Opposition went all out on the penultimate day of the winter session, making serious allegations against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The two senior opposition leaders from NCP, Ajit Pawar and Dhananjay Munde, alleged that Fadnavis was protecting his loyalist from Nagpur in a series of murder cases and had failed as a home minister in controlling the increasing crime in the state.
Ajit Pawar quoted from crime record books and referred to several publications for substantiating his allegations. He asked why Fadnavis was protecting murder accused Munna Yadav, who is chairman of a cash-rich state corporation for construction workers.
Ajit Pawar and Dhananjay Munde said the government had failed in creating any kind of fear in the minds of criminals. “This is a strange government. Ministers give so much ‘respect’ to the officers and employees that they are taken for granted. Someone needs to tell these guys that they are no longer in the opposition but the government,” said Pawar, sarcastically.
“Yadav is absconding, but people say he is seen around in Nagpur, and yet, the police don’t arrest him. This happens despite the DGP asking the CP not to buckle under any political pressure for protecting Munna. Isn’t this shameful for a CP of this city? His boss comes here and raps him, but the officer doesn’t budge.” Pawar said Yadav was given the status of a minister. “Can the CM tell us what is Yadav’s qualification and eligibility for getting such an appointment?”
Calling law and order a cause for concern, Dhananjay Munde told the Upper House that the government didn’t allow anyone to speak, and when anyone talked about the poor law and order, they were branded anti-national. “If the evidence provided by us is fake, then sue us, punish us in a city square, but please verify the evidence and bring the guilty to book,” he said, referring to many crimes across the state and alleged scams in which ministers and bureaucrats were given a clean chit. “The CM is fooling the 11 crore people of Maharashtra.”
“Nagpur is next to Kochi in crime rate. Six people were killed in four hours here early this week. Gang wars are a daily business here. It’s not the rule of law but the rule of bribing. We are ready to take to the streets if home department fails in getting its act together,” said Munde, adding that if Yadav hadn’t been arrested, how could anyone expect the police to arrest the killers of Dr Dabholkar and Prof Pansare.
The former deputy CM said crime against women was on the rise in Mumbai, where the police had consistently failed in ensuring security for women commuters on the suburban rail network. “There is no adequate police force. Women are violated regularly. Why? This government is insensitive, inefficient and inactive,” said Pawar.
Dhananjay Munde said the state was a topper in crimes against women. “In fact, Maharashtra has surpassed Bihar in all types of crimes. I remember late RR Patil, who took a stern decision to ban dance bars; but now, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane have dance bars running under the garb of discotheques. Recently, the Thane police scrapped licences of 43 bars, but ACS (home) stayed the action in just two days,” he added.
Debating for the government, ruling party members, especially those from BJP, defended the home department and CM. But some Shiv Sena members said they were not happy with police’s handling of certain cases. Fadnavis will respond to the debate on Friday.
Taking the debate to another level, Ajit Pawar said some non-Marathi policemen were suspected to be hand in glove with criminals. “I don’t want to create a controversy over regionalism and language, but what I said should be probed,” he added.