At 1.25pm on Wednesday, as he walked into his office in one of the old buildings beside the sessions court, 60-year-old Rakesh Maria looked worn out. He had just spent a part of his last day as a police officer correcting a journalist who had misquoted him in a report on the last case he investigated as Mumbai police commissioner – the Sheena Bora murder case.
“It seems that my 36-year has been boiled down to just one case. How does a Sheena Bora or a Peter Mukerjea matter to me?” he asked rhetorically, appearing irritated by the controversy surrounding his investigation of the murder, which led to his removal as police commissioner. “Nobody wants to talk about the cases I have investigated in the past. And I am not interested in talking about Sheena Bora,” he said.
Maria said he had written a letter to the government on August 28, 2015. In it, he warned that as the suspects in the case were wealthy and influential and would hire the best available lawyers to defend themselves, the state should employ a competent prosecutor to assist the police.
Speaking about his refusal to do interviews, he said, “I have learnt this the hard way. I will say something and the media will twist it to suit their convenience. I have had enough controversy and I have had enough share of the limelight. I just want to get away, with no more phone calls or messages from anyone.” Maria has made a special request to record his depositions in the numerous cases he has investigated so that he can make a clean break with policing. He now plans to write a book for which he has been conducting research for the past year.
“For the past year or so, I have been going through my diaries about the various cases I have investigated and court records and newspaper clippings connected to them. My research is complete. I will take a 10-day break and get into writing the book,” said Maria.
Asked what he plans to do after that, he said, “Policing was what I was passionate about, and now I would like to concentrate on sports. We need to produce sportsmen who can reach the Olympic level, and I would like to contribute do this.”