The Bombay high court on Saturday agreed to look afresh into the allegations made by the wife of officer Ashok Kamte, who was killed in the terrorist attacks in the city on November 26, 2008.
Following allegations by Vinita, Ashok’s wife, that the police had given her misleading information about Ashok, the state information commission (SIC) in 2014 had ordered a judicial probe into the slain officer’s records on the night of the attacks. The decision was challenged by the Maharashtra government.
The court has now directed Vinita to file an application before the court seeking a probe.
A bench of justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik were hearing the state’s appeal against the information commissioner’s order when it asked Vinita if she still wanted a probe into the call records. When she replied in the affirmative, the bench suggested she file an application in the high court.
The bench will then hear the application and decide whether or not to order an inquiry.
In July 2014, the then state chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad had ordered a judicial inquiry stating there had been “apparent manipulation” of 26/11 call records of the south Mumbai police channel.
The order had come following a complaint by Vinita Kamte. Vinita had sought the details of the call records of the police control room from November 26, 2008 to December 27, 2008 under the Right to Information Act, saying she wished to find out if there was an unreasonable delay in getting medical aid for Ashok Kamte, who succumbed to bullet injuries on the night.
She said the information provided to her in November 2009 and February 2010 was “conflicting” as it had discrepancies in timings and messages in the wireless records. She claimed the three officers, who were injured and lying in a pool of blood, had sent a message to the police control room but then police commissioner Rakesh Maria failed to take timely action.
The state, meanwhile, challenged the SIC order in the court claiming the commission had overreached its powers since it can only deal with the role of assistant information officer and information officer and not the police commissioner.
The court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on April 26 this year.
On July 9, 2014, the state information commission (SIC), while ordering a judicial probe, had said it seemed “prima facie” that the police had given misleading information to Vinita Kamte. It said such denial of information was deceptive. The SIC also raised doubts over the conduct of Rakesh Maria and asked if he was trying to “hide” information on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks by “withholding and providing misleading information” about the call logs of wireless conversations between the police control room and slain IPS officer Ashok Kamte’s van.