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STATE MAY AMEND LAW TO REIN IN POLITICAL VANDALS

vandals-4A day after the state government told the Bombay high court that there was no evidence linking Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, MNS president Raj Thackeray and Congress leader Narayan Rane to four separate incidents of political vandalism last year, home minister R R Patil directed his department to consider amendments in the law to avoid recurrences of such embarrassment. Additional chief secretary of home Chandra Iyengar has said that the home minister has asked officials to seek legal opinion of the state’s advocate-general on what can be done. Home Minister R R Patil’s directive comes in the wake of Thursday’s affidavit submitted by the home department before the high court, stating that there was no evidence to establish the involvement of Thackeray, Raj and Rane in different cases of vandalism. While the affidavit has left the Congress-NCP government redfaced, political observers opined that the Democratic Front (DF) government cannot afford to antagonise the Sena as well as the MNS by initiating harsh action against the Sena chief and Raj. Political pundits lambasted the DF government’s clean chit to the three leaders. The government is aware that the Sena as well as the MNS are very much capable of creating public unrest in case the state attempts to arrest their leaders, said an observer. The state had only last year amended the law to punish offenders caught damaging property. According to an amendment to the Bombay Police Act, offenders have to shell out double the amount of damage done to the property.

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