Sharad Pawar

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today rapped the Maharashtra Police for registering 11 FIRs against former MP and NCP leader Anand Paranjpe for protesting against Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan said the police will learn a lesson only when they are fined and directed to pay from their salaries. Paranjpe had filed a petition in the high court seeking for all the FIRs to be clubbed. Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde on Friday told the court that the police would not take any coercive action against Paranjpe in all the 11 FIRs till January 18, when the matter is heard.

Appearing for the NCP leader advocates Suhas Oak and Vinod Utekar said the 11 FIRs arise from a single cause of action, which was a political agitation. Government pleader Shinde said the offenses registered against Paranjape were bailable and he could apply for bail in all the cases. The bench then asked why an accused should apply for bail in each of the 11 cases when there should not have been so many in the first place.

“This has to stop. Ultimately who suffers is the common man,” it said.

“There should be costs imposed on cops. Only when costs are recovered from their salaries will they learn,” it added.

As per Pranjape’s plea, he had organized a protest in Thane district against the chief minister, following which an FIR was registered against him on December 12, 2022, at Shrinagar police station. Later, CM Shinde’s supporters registered 10 more FIRs at different police stations, but within the jurisdiction of the Thane police commissioner, the plea stated.

It was alleged that the protesters had defamed the Chief Minister and uploaded videos of the agitation on social media like Twitter to create unrest and riots in the state, as Paranjape knew that the Chief Minister had innumerable followers/supporters and would get offended and started creating a ruckus.

Paranjape claimed that the FIRs lodged against him are similar and arose out of the alleged incident, tweet, and cause of action.

By Archana

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