Police inspector Sanjay Shinde, who has been suspended for his alleged inaction during the escape of murder accused Vijay Palande on April 10, could now be prosecuted for the murder of 65-year-old Arunkumar Tikku.
Palande is the main accused in Tikku’s murder case, and was rearrested shortly after he escaped.
“[Shinde] could be made an accused in Tikku’s case within a few days,” said a senior crime branch officer, requesting anonymity. Sources in the crime branch said that Shinde may have tried to protect Palande and even allegedly helped him flee.
On April 10, Palande was arrested for his role in the Tikku murder but escaped from the police jeep at a busy traffic junction in Andheri. He was arrested later in the night from Churchgate. A probe into Palande’s escape led to Shinde’s suspension.
“The exact nature of Shinde’s collusion with Palande can be ascertained only after he is subjected to custodial interrogation,” said the officer.
Shinde could also be held guilty for providing false information to a police officer investigating the disappearance and murder of Karan Kakkad. “Shinde concealed Vijay Palande’s identity, and deliberately tried to mislead the officer investigating Kakkad’s disappearance,” the officer added.
Shinde had introduced Palande as Karan Sood to the police officer at Amboli police station, and had stated that Sood was his relative. Shinde also vouched for Palande’s integrity to the officer, added crime branch sources.
“The investigating officer’s statement has been recorded. Also on record is other material evidence including the station diary entry at Amboli police station, which details Shinde’s call to the police station,” said the officer.
While the crime branch is likely to book Shinde, a file has been moved to the police commissioner for appropriate disciplinary action against Shinde, added crime branch sources.