Ten policemen, including frontline encounter specialists, Inspectors Pradeep Sharma and Arun Borude, who had come under the scanner during the CID probe into the alleged custodial murder of Ghatkopar bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus, were shunted out of Mumbai on orders of the Director General of Police (DGP) on Friday. The transfers are to be implemented with immediate effect.
Those transferred include officers and constables who had served in the Andheri and Powai units of the Criminal Intellegence Unit (CIU) and Ghatkopar unit of the Crime Branch, when the alleged murder took place in the night of January 6, 2003.
Director General of Police (DGP) PS Pasricha told HT on Friday that the evidence put up by the CID during the probe would be analysed before the direction was given for the prosecution of those accused officers within the four week deadline, as set by the High Court. "I want to go through the evidences first and decide action accordingly," Pasricha stated.
Of those officers transferred on Friday, from Nandurbar to Nashik and from Ratnagiri to Buldhana, some were the much decorated ones during the hey days as encounter specialists in the Crime Branch. They were involved in over 150 police encounters in their drive against the underworld in the late 1990s and early 2000.
Earlier, eight officers and subordinate staff were arrested in the same case. However officers like PI Pradeep Sharma, ACP Ambadas Pote and PI Arun Borude had obtained anticipatory bail and continued to serve the department in various postings. Only Pote was transferred out of Mumbai, to Nanded and Dy SP.
As per the order, PI Pradeep Sharma, who is currently attached to the D N Nagar police station, has been transferred to Amravati. Inspector Arun Borude, presently attached to the Versova police station has been shunted to Buldhana. Asistant Police Inspector (API) Dinkar Mohite, presently posted in Navi Mumbai, has been shifted to Nagpur City. PI Girish Gore has been moved to Ratnagiri, PSI KL Thorat has been moved to Nandurbar. PI Prakash Patil, presently with the Special Branch (SBI) has been shunted to Hingoli, Assistant Sub Inspector Mangesh Mahajan has been moved to Nashik city. D Johri, who is presently attached to the Special Branch as a Head Constable, has been moved to Nashik rural. One more Inspector, an ASI and two constables have been shifted to Hingoli, DG office sources revealed.
Additional SP, Kiran Gosavi of the state CID, who is the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case, has summed up that the ‘difficult’ investigation of the case was fraught with many difficulties.
In an affadivit filed in the Bombay High Court on October 16, Gosavi had alleged that the officers and men, all from the Crime Branch, were involved in the cold blooded murder and later disposed off the body by hatching a conspiracy. During investigation, the accused officers and witness, many of whom are let out on anticipatory bail or bail, continue to serve in the department.
They were non-coperative during the investigation. Moreover, the subordinate staff/officers, out of sheer fright are not prepared to divulge any information or become witness of the state CID, the affadavit stated.
Gosavi had stated that Khwaja was tortured in the custody for obtaining confession by Inspector Arun Borude, Inspector Rajendra Joshi, Inspector Praful Bhosle, API Vanmane, PSI Hemant Desai and PSI Khot. Dr. Mateen was a witness to the entire torture. Moreover, for 48 hours between January 3 and 6, Khwaja was not subjected to the mandatory daily medical examinations.
The CID has also alleged that the mobile phone records of accused PSI Sachin Vaze and Inspector Rajendra Joshi on the relevant date, January 6, 2003 and January 7, 2003, is corrupt, “which is very suspicious destruction of evidence,” the CID contended.
Moreover, during investigation it came to the light that the mobile phones of inspector Praful Bhosale , inspector Pradeep Sharma, PSI Aslam Momin, Inspector Prakash Bhandari, Inspector Ashok Borkar, PSI Daya Nayak, PSI Gavade and PSI Sachin Vaze were not in their names. During the interrogation of some of these officers, it was revealed that except Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ambadas Pote, Inspector Rajendra Joshi and the then Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Pradeep Sawant the names and addresses of the mobile phone holders given by all other police officers proved to be false.
CID sources said that some more officers of the crime branch and their superiors who were serving in the crime branch when the incident toomk place, will also come under the scanner in the coming days.