Even as the police investigate if suspended crime branch inspector Sanjay Shinde was involved in any of the crimes connected with murder accused Vijay Palande, beyond allegedly helping him escape from custody, sources said the Mumbai crime branch is in for a major reshuffle.
Shinde came under the scanner after he did nothing to stop Palande from escaping when the police vehicle ferrying him got stuck in traffic at Andheri on April 10. Palande is the brother of Shinde’s elder brother’s wife.
“Shinde, Palande and constable Amol Deshpande [also suspended] were seated in the back. The constable got off to regulate the traffic as they were stuck for very long, but he didn’t close the door. That’s how Palande escaped. Shinde should have stopped Palande, but he did not,” a crime branch official said, on condition of anonymity. “There are certain service rules that govern an officer and if he fails to work by them, there are consequences. The crime branch is checking on Shinde’s links with Palande beyond the escape.”
Shinde was initially transferred to the administration department of the crime branch, and later suspended.
Police commissioner Arup Patnaik said: “Shinde is being probed. If anything more comes up, he will face administrative and legal action.”
Patnaik has also ordered a probe into the antecedents and service records of all officers serving with the Mumbai police, and sources said that a major reshuffle is likely in the elite crime branch to ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident to tarnish the force further.
“Nearly 70% of the officers have completed their three-year tenure with the crime branch. In some cases, officers have been with the crime branch for seven to eight years,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
The reshuffle is imminent as the probe into Shinde’s alleged links with the underworld and criminals has brought to light the involvement of a senior IPS officer who allegedly shielded Shinde, said sources.