A worried Home Minister RR Patil said on Friday that the city’s Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria has asked the state government to clarify the charges of dereliction of duty during the 26/11 terror attacks, made against him.
Patil, however, denied that Maria has threatened to quit the Indian Police Service (IPS).
“We received Maria’s letter on Thursday. He has not mentioned anything about resigning from the IPS,” Patil told Hindustan Times.
When asked if the state would clarify the issue, a reluctant Patil said, “We have not taken any decision on Maria’s request as yet.” Sources close to Maria told Hindustan Times on Thursday that he would quit the prestigious job if the government did not clarify the charges or allow him to defend himself.
Patil, who was heading the home department during the terror attacks, has been avoiding talking about the allegations of a cover up by Maria made by wives of slain police officers Ashok Kamte and Hemant Karkare. Kamte, additional commissioner of police, Anti Terrorism Squad chief Karkare and Senior Inspector Vijay Salaskar were killed by terrorists Abu Ismail and Ajmal Kasab near Rang Bhawan on November 26, 2008.
Kamte’s widow, Vinita, has alleged that the police control room in-charge Maria did not react to repeated calls for help from the officers during and after the shootout. Vinita’s charges are based on call logs she obtained using the Right to Information Act. She has written about it in her book To The Last Bullet.
Sources said the government is unlikely to take a decision on Maria’s letter immediately.
“The reason why the government has not published the [Ram] Pradhan Committee report is that it does not want the internal bickering to come out in the open,” said a government official requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. “If Maria is allowed to speak right now, it will lead to several rounds of allegations and counter allegations.” Sources said the decision would depend on what Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Patil want to do about Maria’s request.