Clerks, ‘unofficial’ peon under police scanner

  • Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 21, 2011 00:44 IST

Investigation into the case of pages from an important file related to the controversial Adarsh society missing, led the crime branch to a serious instance of breach in security at Mantralaya.

Sources in the crime branch said a desk officer from the urban development department (UDD), Gurudutt Madhukar Vajpe, had ‘employed’ a person to work as an errand boy in his office.

The Hindustan Times accessed the progress report of the investigation into the missing pages case submitted by the crime branch to the Bombay high court on February 14. The report highlights this lapse.

Sources said that it is a common practice in Mantralaya to informally pick people working for field offices to run errands instead of hiring someone through the lengthy but official staff selection process. 

The ‘peon’, Prashant Prakash Pathak, earn handsomely from the contributions made by UDD staff towards his salary. Sources said he was also allegedly issued an identity card by Vajpe for uninterrupted entry into the high-security zone.

Both Vajpe, who was seated at desk number 12, and Pathak are suspects in the case of the missing pages from the Adarsh file.

In the report, the crime branch has sought the court’s permission to conduct scientific tests such as brain mapping and lie detector tests on Pathak and Vajpe to further their probe. The crime branch also wanted to conduct tests on three other UDD staff – Vidya Dhabolkar, a clerk at the same desk as Vajpe, clerk Rajendra Naik, who was the custodian of the Adarsh file before Dhabolkar, and Waman Raul, a clerk who had allegedly made the last entry in the file in 2006.

During investigations, the crime branch learnt that Vajpe had given Pathak a temporary, hand-written security pass. “How can someone issue a pass to a person like that for entry into a high-security place such as Mantralaya?” a senior crime branch officer asked, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on the case.

A senior official from the UDD confirmed that Pathak had been informally placed in the department and even issued a security pass. “It is a serious matter. We have already issued a show-cause notice to two of our staff and disciplinary action will be initiated against them,” the official said, requesting anonymity because he did not want to be quoted on any issue relating to Adarsh.

Sources in the UDD claimed that the staff had employed one more person. Both were asked to leave after the crime branch pointed out the security lapses.

 

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