A day after an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) shot a senior police inspector dead inside Vakola police station, commissioner of police Rakesh Maria has asked all senior PIs of police stations and other units to hold one-on-one meetings with all serving members, to understand their difficulties.
Meanwhile, the crime branch, which is investigating the incident, has started recording statements of eyewitnesses present in the police station during the incident, in which ASI Dilip Shirke shot dead senior PI Vilas Joshi. A wireless operator, Balasaheb Aher, was also injured.
Crime branch officials will soon be recording the statements of family members. Sources in the crime branch said they are trying to find out the exact reason why Shirke took such a step. Initial statements have indicated Shirke had for long been unhappy at work, which culminated in the shooting on Saturday.
Crime branch officers will now go through past records of both the officials, and will also be going through the station diary of the police station, to determine the sequence of events that led to the murder. Sources said on Friday, Shirke was on night shift, and, according to his family members, was posted in a combat vehicle. However, a PI from the Vakola police station did not find him at the spot he was posted at between 2am and 6am. As a result, he was marked absent and an entry was made in the station diary. Sources said this was the bone of contention that prompted the verbal spat between Joshi and Shirke. Sources added Shirke may have shot Aher accidentally. Aher’s statement will be recorded soon.
Maria, meanwhile, has asked all in-charge officers of police stations and crime branch units to speak to their juniors and ask about the problems they face at work, to prevent such incidents in future. Maria is said to have asked senior inspectors to open up about problems related to leaves and health, which are often the chief sources of friction and professional dissatisfaction in most police stations and units, with extended bandobast duty and other work leaving the short-staffed police force exhausted.
Dhananjay Kulkarni, spokesperson for Mumbai police, said the CP has asked all senior PIs to interact with juniors, including constables, and that even zonal DCPs are involved in the process. “This has been done regularly. Now, after this incident, we will take this interaction more seriously, and even domestic problems faced by staff members will be discussed,” he said.