Police inspector Sanjay Shinde has been indicted in the inquiry conducted by assistant commissioner of police Arvind Mahabdi into the dramatic escape of murder accused Vijay Palande from a police jeep on April 10.
Police commissioner Arup Patnaik had last week suspended Shinde, who is married to Palande's sister, along with police constable Amol Deshpande, following a report by Pratap Digavkar, deputy commissioner of police (zone 9), which found that the duo was trying to pressure an officer from Amboli police station, who was investigating the disappearance of aspiring producer Karan Kakkad, to go soft on Palande. Shinde is married to Palande's sister.
The inquiry by ACP Mahabdi had been ordered by joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy on April 11 after Palande escaped from a police jeep while being brought from Karad in Satara district following his arrest in connection with the murder of senior citizen Arun Tikku after it slowed down at the Old Nagardas Road in Andheri (east) due to traffic.
This had prompted a wild goose chase by the crime branch for over five hours before Palande was finally apprehended from Churchgate railway station by mid-night.
Four policemen - two constables, an assistant police inspector, and inspector Sanjay Shinde - who were present in the jeep, faced the inquiry. It found only Shinde guilty of negligence, while the other three policemen have been cleared, a highly placed crime branch source told HT on Thursday.
"Shinde being the senior-most and the most experienced officer of the team should have been more careful and alert while ferrying a notorious criminal like Palande, who has a record of running away from law," the source said while quoting the report. Palande had jumped parole in 2007 while serving a life sentence in a double murder case.
At around 7.30 pm, the jeep carrying Palande and Manoj Gajkosh, co-accused in the Tikku murder case, slowed down in Andheri (east). Constable P Ahire was sitting in the middle row along with inspector Shinde, while Palande was perched between them, without handcuffs. API Mahadeo Nimbalkar was sitting on the front seat while the other constable, Shinde, was driving the jeep. Gajkosh was sitting in the rear row. Constable Ahire got off the vehicle to clear the traffic, when Palande slipped out.
Deputy commissioner of police (crime) Nisar Tamboli said, "Mahabdi's inquiry [report] has found Shinde guilty of negligence, while it cleared the other three policemen."