Inspector Ashok Khedekar’s eyes welled up as he heard of the Supreme Court (SC) verdict overturning the acquittals of Duncan Grant and Alan Waters, Britons accused of sexually abusing boys at a shelter run by them at Colaba in 2001.
“We gave this case our all. It’s a personal victory for me and the team,” he said, tears streaming down his face.
Khedekar was part of the Colaba police team, led by Himanshu Roy, that investigated the case.
The police probe led to the convictions of Waters and Grant, but the sessions court order was struck down by the Bombay high court in 2008. The high court felt that the victims’s statements were unreliable.
“The SC order is a vindication of our stand,” said a beaming joint commissioner of police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.
Roy, who was deputy commissioner of police for Zone 1 (Colaba was under his jurisdiction) in 2001, had supervised the investigation and played a crucial role in the deportation of Waters from the US.
“It was a challenging case,” he said. “We took up the case as a priority because it involved the abuse of helpless children.”
That’s why he didn’t lose heart when the Bombay high court overturned the convictions. “We were convinced we had a strong case,” Roy said.
Khedekar, now with the Economic Offences Wing, said: “It was a tough job getting Waters extradited. However, it was because of the meticulously collected evidence that he was brought back.”
Recalling the difficulties faced by the police, Khedekar said the terrified children were initially reluctant to speak of the abuse. They were so scared they couldn’t even describe properly what had happened. It was advocate Mahrukh Adenwala, he said, who gave them the courage to speak.
“Most of the evidence was in the form of statements. We did not take a chance and got them recorded before a magistrate,” Khedekar said, whipping out his mobile phone and typing congratulatory messages to his former colleagues.