Thursday, 13 December 2012

M.R.A. Marg Police Station

Unedited excerpt From Volume II, Chapter I of Justice BN Srikrishna Report, dated February 16, 1998, Mumbai

20.1 During December 1992 two cases of damage caused by stone throwing were registered, (1) at Hotel Fountain Plaza, R. Dadaji Street, where the name board of the hotel belonging to a Muslim was damaged and, (2) an incident of stone throwing on a BEST Bus which was being driven by a Muslim driver. There are no cases registered with respect to these incidents. Only station diary entries have been made.

20.2 This area saw one serious incident of murder at about 2315 hours on 8th December 1992 (C.R.No.579 of 1992). There were 11 cases of looting and arson registered during the January 1993 phase of the riots out of which six (C.R.Nos.24, 27, 29, 35, 42 of 1993) have been classified in "A" summary, on the ground that the accused were not identified. Most of the cases of arson and looting appear to be the cases of Muslim properties.

20.3 On 8th December 1992 at about 2315 hours two groups of youngsters were throwing stones and soda–water bottles at each other. A police party led by Police Inspector Subhash Rajaram Salvi and consisting of Police Inspector Swamy, Police Sub–Inspector More and three constables, attempted to disperse the two mobs. One of the mobs ran towards the Cement Chawl, a chawl predominantly occupied by Hindus. When police saw the group going towards Cement Chawl, the police gave up the chase. The other group of youngsters ran towards the hutments on Sant Tukaram Marg predominantly occupied by Muslims. During the course of investigation the police apprehended one Babu Abdul Sheikh in the act of picking of a stone. He was probably a part of the Muslim mob. Police Inspector Salvi then instructed PC 24242 to take the apprehended person Babu Abdul Sheikh to the police picket at Musafirkhana and went ahead on Sant Tukaram Marg towards the hutments to flush out other miscreants. PC 24242 was escorting the apprehended person Babu Abdul Sheikh along the Carnac Bridge. That was the last that Police Inspector Salvi saw of Babu Abdul Sheikh. After Salvi returned from his futile search in the hutments on Sant Tukaram Marg and came near the Carnac Bridge, he saw a group of Hindus with deadly weapons like swords, guptis and knives standing near the stair case leading to the Cement Chawl. He noticed a person lying in a pool of blood between the entrances to the staircases. He was lying on the side of the bridge which falls within the jurisdiction of Pydhonie Police Station. That person was taken to the St.George’s hospital, but was declared dead before admission.

Salvi thereafter came back to the police station and made enquiries about PC 24242 who had accompanied Babu Abdul Sheikh. He later discovered the said constable hiding in one corner of the police station. When confronted, the constable stated that while he was escorting Babu Abdul Sheikh, he was set upon by a Hindu mob which attacked them both and stabbed Babu to death. The body of Babu Abdul Sheikh bore no less than seven incise wounds and the cause of death was ‘shock and haemorrhage due to stab injuries’. A complaint was made about the suspicious circumstances under which Babu was killed, by his mother, a deaf and mute lady. An enquiry was held by Senior Police Inspector Vijay Rajaram Pednekar, which appears to be a clear case of white washing. After the enquiry, Pednekar did not even make a report to the Deputy Commissioner of Police on the facile ground that he was to give evidence before the Commission. Even at the time of giving evidence before the Commission, he had not made the report and stated that he would thereafter make the report. PC 24242 (Vidyadhar Raghunath Shelar) gave his statement in the enquiry and denied the allegation of having connived in the murder of Babu. In the enquiry held by Pednekar, he did not examine all the complainants who were the signatories to the complaint dated 2nd January 1993 which made serious allegations against Inspector Salvi and PC 24242 Vidyadhar Raghunath Shelar. Babu Sheikh’s mother Fatima was not examined on the ground that she was deaf and mute. Fatima Sheikh’s sister’s statement is on record. It is in Marathi and bears a thumb impression, indicating that the lady is illiterate. Surprisingly, the statement gives a clean chit to the police of MRA Marg Police Station, although in the original complaint serious allegations are made against all of them.

20.4 The explanation of PC 24242 is that while being escorted along the bridge, Babu Abdul Sheikh freed himself from his grip and ran towards the opposite direction, but he was chased and killed by the Hindu mob. His subsequent conduct of not reporting such a serious matter to his superior officers is highly suspicious. The accused who have been arrested in this case are all active Shiv Sainiks. Dinesh Ramdas Mitbaokar, Umesh Ramdas Mitbaokar, Salim Mohd. Sheikh, Suryakant Sopan Shinde, Madhukar Tatyaba Kadam, Krishna Dagdu Latkar, Sampat Namdeo Godse, Ashok Rajaram Raut have admitted their offence and stated in their interrogatory statements that they had assaulted Babu Abdul Sheikh and killed him on that day. According to Dinesh, the other accused Krishna Latkar was always seen with Hemant Koli, local Shiv Sena Shakha Pramukh.

20.5 There is the case of a tempo driver, Prakash Shankar Shinde, complained of private firing upon him by some Muslim youths (C.R.No.22 of 1993). He said that the assailants "looked like Muslims", but would be able to identify them if shown again. No proper investigation appears to have been made in this case which has been classified as "A" summary. C.R.No.29 of 1993 has also been classified as "A" summary though the complainant has said that the assailants could be identified.

20.6 One Suryakant Pawar was caught red-handed while indulging in arson of Sonika Shopping Centre (C.R.No.25 of 1993). He stated in his interrogatory statement that he and his associates Arvind Dnyaneshwar Gawade, Pritam Sampat Misal and Subhash Sitaram Tandlekar were all members of Shiv Sena. Though Subhash Sitaram Tandlekar denied having committed the offence, he did not deny his connection with Shiv Sena. According to the Senior Police Inspector, Shiv Sena is the only political organisation in this area having two shakhas, one at Carnac Bunder and the other at Modi Street. Strangely, the trouble seems to be centred around the localities where the shakha offices are located.

20.7 In the assessment of Senior Police Inspector, the riots in December 1992 and January 1993 might have been supported by some gangsters operating from some other areas. Under stress of cross–examination, the Senior Police Inspector has admitted that this was just a guess without any material on record.

20.8 All the property damaged in the incidents in January 1993 belonged to Muslims.

20.9 In the view of the Commission, Police Inspector Salvi, Police Sub–Inspector More and PC 24242 Vidyadhar Raghunath Shelar are squarely responsible for virtually handing over Babu Abdul Sheikh to the mob resulting in his being hacked to death.

20.10 The serious offences are committed by persons affiliated with the Shiv Sena or found to be hanging around in the company of local Shakha Pramukh Hemant Koli. If it is a coincidence, it strains the credulity of the Commission.

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