FB arrests: 2 cops suspended, magistrate transferred

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday suspended two police officers, including the Thane Superintendent of Police, while the Bombay High Court has transferred a magistrate in connection with the arrest of two ladies over a Facebook posting criticising the shutdown of Mumbai for the funeral of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

Thane (rural) SP Ravindra Sengaonkar and Senior Inspector Shrikant Pingle have been suspended and a departmental enquiry ordered against them, while judicial magistrate R G Bagade has been transferred. Additional SP Sangram Nishandar has also been reprimanded, state home minister R R Patil said on Tuesday.

Patil gave an assurance that the departmental enquiry against the two cops would be completed in the shortest possible time. ''Wrong sections (of the law) were applied against the two girls (Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan),'' he said.

The two were arrested on the complaint of a Shiv Sena functionary although Dhada had not even mentioned Thackeray by name, and Srinivasan had merely ''liked'' the post.

The Shiv Sena has called for a bandh in Palghar and in the adjoining Thane district, on Wednesday in protest against the suspensions.

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has defended the suspension of the two police officers, saying they had acted against the directions given by their seniors while arresting the girls in Palghar.