Another taint in a khaki brigade has thrown the spotlight on the batch of policemen who were once not just feared but were also revered.
The batch of 1983 as it is known in the police circle comprised of names such as Pradeep Sharma, Vijay Salaskar, Ramesh Mahale, Prafull Bhosale and that Senior police inspector Arun Borude, who is now absconding.
These names have earned accolades for their effort but with some of them being indicted in serious offences such as murder and rape, the image of the entire police force has taken a beating.
While Sharma is under custody over an alleged murder, which was passed off as an encounter, Borude is on the run for allegedly raping a minor girl.
Bhosale was recently posted to Anti-Robbery Cell after being under suspension over the custodial death of terror suspect Khwaja Yunus. A case in which both Sharma and Borude had been named as well.
“The batch had everything going right for it. They peaked as the senior officers supported them and ignored their excesses in their fight against the underworld,” said a journalist, who has observed the rise of these officers at close quarters.
“They were posted to various units of crime branch around 1995 and it was around then that the police department had decided to take on the underworld. The fact they were all from the same batch resulted in a healthy competition among them but it soon degenerated into a war over who killed the most,” the journalist said.
A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said the men from his batch knew that they could get away with everything.
“Our seniors backed these officers and so they got stronger without realising that ultimately they were bound by a code which had to be respected,” the officer said.
Another officer, who had served with one of the biggest names from this batch, said the officers from 1983 batch became larger than life. “They were so full of themselves that they did not let their juniors grow.”
If Sachin Tendulkar scores a century, then people also remember his guru Ramakant Achrekar but these people never realised this and instead of encouraging us, they ensured that we never put our potential to use,” he said.
MN Singh, former police commissioner, under whose aegis, these men became what they were known for, said the downfall of these officers happened due to their own misconduct.
“In which book is it written that a police officer should rape a girl,” Singh said.
“It is their personal misconduct and if they have done it then they should be punished for it,” he said.