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Maharashtra CIC orders probe against Mumbai top cop


Mumbai, July 16 :

Maharashtra’s chief information commissioner (CIC) has directed the state government to launch a judicial probe against Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria for “misleading” the widow of a police officer martyred in the 26/11 terror attacks.

CIC Ratnakar Gaikwad, in his July 9 order, asked the government to initiate a probe to ascertain why wrong information was provided by Maria to Vinita Kamte, the widow of Ashok Kamte, who was killed during the gun battle with the Pakistani terrorists.

Rakesh Maria, Mumbai police chief
Rakesh Maria, Mumbai police chief

“Considering the information available, it appears that misleading information was provided, information not provided deliberately, or information was destroyed, there were delays in providing information, etc, and the CIC was in agreement with the doubts raised by the complainant (Vinita),” the order said.

Gaikwad directed the state government to institute the inquiry under the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 by a sitting or a retired judge.

The CIC move came in a six-year-long effort by Vinita Kamte, through RTI, to secure call logs of wireless conversations between the Main Police Control Room, other control rooms and Ashok Kamte’s vehicle in which he was gunned down on the night of Nov 26-27, 2008.

That night, two other officers, Hemant Karkare, who was the Anti-Terrorist Squad chief, and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, were also gunned down.

In her persistent efforts to find out the details of the call logs, Vinita Kamte first encountered an outright denial, later when it provided in November 2009 and February 2010, there were glaring and serious discrepancies in the information.

“Maria had asked the then information officer not to provide the information to Vinita Kamte… This is highly irresponsible and gives rise to doubts whether he was attempting to suppress some information,” Gaikwad said

“It is obvious that unless a serious note is taken of this and an impartial inquiry is not conducted, the complainant (Vinita) and the public will not get the correct information,” he said.

The CIC also cited relevant sections of the RTI Act, which provides for stringent disciplinary action under service rules in such cases.

Vinita Kamte has contended that Maria did not inform her who ordered her husband Ashok Kamte to proceed to the Cama Hospital where he was killed though he was in-charge of the Main Control Room when the attacks were launched the evening of Nov 26, 2008.