FIR registered against ADG Deven Bharti, 2 others

Updated on Dec 11, 2021 12:28 AM IST

The Mumbai police on Thursday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against additional director general of police Deven Bharti and two others, for cheating, forgery and under penal provisions of the Indian Passport Act

The Mumbai police registered a First Information Report (FIR) against additional director general of police Deven Bharti (HT File)
The Mumbai police registered a First Information Report (FIR) against additional director general of police Deven Bharti (HT File)

The Mumbai police on Thursday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against additional director general of police Deven Bharti and two others, for cheating, forgery and under penal provisions of the Indian Passport Act.

Bharti, a 1994 batch IPS officer presently posted in the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC), has been booked for allegedly pressurising a police officer (an inspector) from special branch-I to not pursue a matter against alleged illegal Bangladeshi immigrant Reshma Khairati Khan, wife of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mumbai vice-president Hyder Azam Khan. Reshma has been accused of getting an Indian passport made illegally with the help of a bogus birth certificate. Bharti was the joint commissioner of police (law and order) at the time.

Besides Reshma and Bharti, former senior police inspector (now retired) of Malwani police station, Deepak Phatangare, has also been made an accused in the case for allegedly not taking action against Reshma on the instructions of Bharti. The three have been booked by Malwani police station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Indian Passport Act. The case has been transferred to the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai crime branch for further investigation. Bharti and Phatangare did not respond to phone calls and text messages.

The case against the trio is based on a complaint by police inspector Deepak Kurulkar while he was serving in special branch-I that keeps tab on illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

Kurulkar, who retired from service in 2017, gave a statement to the then director general of police, home guards, Sanjay Pandey (the present DGP) who carried out a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Bharti last year. Based on the findings of the PE, the present case has been registered, a senior police officer said.

In his statement dated August 16, 2020 ( HT has seen a copy), Kurulkar said that while serving in the special branch-I he was scrutinising old records when he came across a file on Reshma Khan and found a copy of the birth certificate that she had submitted to obtain a passport. Kurulkar sent a team of policemen from the special branch-I to 24 Pargana District, West Bengal to verify the contents (birth date, place, address, family details) of Reshma’s birth certificate as he found the documents suspicious.

The team visited the district’s record and copying section and was informed by the officer-in-charge that they have no records of Reshma’s birth. Following this, Kurulkar wrote to Malwani police station officials (as Reshma lived in Malwani), seeking appropriate legal action against Reshma and her family members for submitting a bogus birth certificate to obtain the passport. However, the then senior inspector of Malwani police station Phatangare did not take any action. When Kurulkar contacted Phatangare over the phone, asking why he hadn’t registered an FIR against Reshma, Phatangare reportedly told Kurulkar that he had orders from Bharti not to take any action against Reshma.

In a statement submitted to Pandey, Kurulkar also said that Bharti called him to his office, and told him that if Kurulkar pursued the matter, he would face trouble, as Reshma was related to a BJP leader. Bharti also reportedly told Kurulkar that the then CM had given instructions in this regard and any action needed would be taken by Malwani senior police inspector Phatangare. Kurulkar said in his statement that he then learned that Reshma is the wife of BJP Mumbai vice-president, Hyder Azam Khan. Kurulkar said that the documents pertaining to the matter and the probe were available with the Malwani police station and records of Special Branch-I.

Reacting to the case, Hyder Azam Khan, who is also the head of BJP’s minority cell, said that the case is politically motivated. “Reshma does not have a passport in the first place. The allegations are baseless and we have sufficient documents to prove our claims. We would cooperate with the police probe and furnish relevant documents.”

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