Old hands brought back to crime branch

Published on Sep 25, 2022 12:11 AM IST

Mumbai: In an attempt to rebuild the Mumbai police crime branch (CB), the top brass has started bringing in old hands in leadership roles in the city police’s elite investigating unit

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ByGautam S Mengle & Manish K Pathak

Mumbai: In an attempt to rebuild the Mumbai police crime branch (CB), the top brass has started bringing in old hands in leadership roles in the city police’s elite investigating unit.

Earlier this week, CB posted two of its oldest officers as unit heads -- police inspector Yogesh Chavan was made the head of Unit II in south Mumbai and police inspector Mahesh Tawade was given charge of the Unit VII in Ghatkopar in the eastern suburbs. Both officers have served for over 10 years in CB.

While Chavan used to head the Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) and was transferred to the missing persons bureau and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) unit two months ago. Tawde was heading Unit XII and was transferred to the CB’s computer cell six months ago.

Chavan was part of the team that investigated the Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar murder in 2017, and Tawde had investigated the murder of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha in 2012. He also was part of a team that seized Hashish drug worth 16 crore in Dahisar last year.

When Sanjay Pandey, himself under arrest now, took over as Mumbai’s top cop, he ordered a reshuffle which saw the shunting out of the oldest and most experienced officers from the crime branch. This led to an influx of fresh officers in CB whose experience was limited and many were unaware of the city’s topography – an essential component of CB’s sleuthing.

The subsequent delay in transfers due to the fall of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the formation of a new government by the Bharatiya Janata Party and a faction of the Sena, led by Eknath Shinde, meant that the same officers stayed on as heads of units.

“Police station postings come with a large number of additional duties like bandobast, preventive action and community outreach and this does not allow everyone to develop focused investigation skills. After being posted to an agency like the crime branch, it takes several months for the outlook to change and for the officer to adapt to a new work culture. This was one reason why the best performing officers were retained in the Crime Branch for years. Even if some officers are shuffled out in one round of transfers, the top brass makes sure they come back in the next round,” said a serving CB officer with over 20 years of experience in the agency.

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