5 Mumbai encounter-specialists you must know about
Maharashtra police officer Daya Nayak, who has at least 83 encounters under his belt, is once again in trouble after he was suspended for failing to report for duty in Nagpur where he had been transferred nearly a year ago.
Police sources have told HT that Nayak, a 1995-batch police officer, fears for his as well as his family's life in Nagpur.
Nayak's suspension has put the focus back on the troubled lives of Mumbai Police's encounter-specialists – once lionised in gangster films as anti-mafia heroes, but now increasing finding themselves on the other side of the law – with criminal cases piled up against most of them.
Here are the five "encounter-specialists" of the Mumbai Police about whom you must know:
Encounters: 83, including that of Chhota Rajan's gang members
A disproportionate assets case was filed against Nayak in January 2003. He was investigated by the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court for links with the underworld but was given clean chit after several inquiries in 2004.
In 2006, Nayak was arrested by the anti-corruption bureau after a sessions court issued a non-bailable warrant against him for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. After his arrest and interrogation, the list of properties that Nayak allegedly owned came to light. It included, among others, a swank penthouse in Yug Dharma apartments in Mumbai's Malad. He was suspended as well.
The Supreme Court quashed all the charges against him under the MCOCA in 2010 and he was reinstated only in 2012 at the additional commissioner of police (West) control room.
Nana Patekar and Rana Daggubati portrayed him in Ab Tak Chhappan and Department respectively.
Encounters: More than 100, including top crime bosses and three LeT suspects
File photo of Pradeep Sharma. (HT Photo)
Sharma's name had cropped in the 2003 custodial death of bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus, was accused of a nexus with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, for allegedly grabbing land in Malad and the November 2006 alleged fake encounter of former gangster Ram Narain Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiyya, a suspected aide of gangster Chhota Rajan.
In January 2010, Sharma was arrested along with 21 others for their involvement in the encounter of Lakhan Bhaiyya. A Mumbai court acquitted Sharma of all the charges in the case in July 2013.
Sanjay Dutt played Sharma in Ram Gopal Varma's film Department.
Encounters: 75–80 criminals including key members of the Arun Gawli gang
Salaskar was killed in action during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was 50. He was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra in 2009.
Before his death, Salaskar was head of the anti-extortion cell of Mumbai Police.
After the encounter in 2004 when Salaskar killed two of gangster Gawli's aides, allegations had surfaced that the killings were fake.
In 2008, it was reported that Salaskar had unearthed the connections between the gutka industry and top businessmen, following which the rifle issued to him was withdrawn. Some news reports claimed that had the rifle been there with him, Salaskar would have survived the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Encounters: 63, including key members of Chotta Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim's gangs
Waze joined Maharashtra police in 1990 and resigned in November 2007. Media reports suggest that Waze also had special skills in tackling cyber crimes. He, reportedly, carried modern gadgets and gizmos.
A case of the custodial death of software engineer Khwaja Yunus was filed against him in December 2002. It was reported that Waze allegedly punched Yunus in the stomach and poured a bucket of cold water on him, which led to his death.
Encounters: 52, including famous underworld don Suresh Machekar and members of gangster Amar Naik's gang
In 2008, Thane-based builder, Ganesh Wagh filed a complaint of threatening, extortion and robbery against Angre, following which the officer was arrested and suspended. He spent months in prison and was released in May 2009.
In 2010, Angre was again arrested on charges of attempt to murder Wagh's brother Mahesh. The cop was granted conditional bail after spending 49 days in jail. Angre was acquitted by a sessions court for lack of circumstantial evidence or eyewitness in 2011.
He was later reinstated into the force and transferred to Gadchiroli. Angre refused to accept his transfer, following which he was dismissed from service in June 2014.
Angre, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party earlier this year, is now being considered as the man to take on Shiv Sena and the NCP in the Thane Municipal elections to be held in 2017.