Maharashtra: DCM Devendra Fadnavis Comes Under Fire From Opposition Over Police Functioning

Maharashtra: DCM Devendra Fadnavis Comes Under Fire From Opposition Over Police Functioning

Mumbai: Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, is increasingly being targeted by the opposition vis-a-vis the functioning of the state police. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Nana Patole, Shiv Sena (UBT), Supriya Sule, NCP (Sharad Pawar) M.P. are all making a concerted attack on him because of lapses on the part of the police.

The Pune’s police caused a major embarrassment to Fadnavis by its totally unprofessional handling of the May 19 Porsche accident in tandem with the doctors of Sasoon Hospital. Because of the gross failure on the part of the police, the Juvenile Justice Board effectively took the minor at the wheel who fatally knocked down two young engineers. This created a national uproar.

Realising the gravity of the situation, Fadnavis rushed to Pune in a damage control exercise. But by then the shenanigans of the Pune police were in the open. Television anchors pilloried police commissioner Amitesh Gupta, with many activists even demanding his transfer.

The incident also exposed the rot that has set into the Pune police force. Even though the police is claiming that there was no political interference in the investigation, there are no takers for this claim.

The fact is that an NCP (Ajit Pawar) MLA Sunil Tingre did visit the police station that fateful night and there are also reports that deputy CM Ajit Pawar himself spoke to Gupta. Fadnavis may be facing compulsions of a coalition government, but it is his image which is getting lowered by his failure to act against Gupta. Pawar’s denial has come a tad too late.

Another recent incident in Mumbai turned the spotlight on its police. The head of the forensic department of the BMC-run Sion hospital Dr Rajesh Dere fatally knocks down a senior citizen and one of the first persons to rush to the woman’s rescue is a police constable as evidenced by CCTV footage.

Yet, the FIR is registered several hours later and the doctor himself is arrested more than 24 hours later making the case against him very weak in terms of alcohol test. By not taking action against the Sion police station cops, Fadnavis is once again at the receiving end. More recently, a policeman was part of a gang which committed daylight dacoity in the house of the owner of Cafe Mysore, Matunga. Incidentally, this incident too took place in the jurisdiction of Sion police station.

These incidents have tarnished the image of the Mumbai police, which otherwise under the leadership of commissioner Vivek Phansalkar has been performing well. The massive banbobast for the IPL matches, Modis road show, election rallies etc has been widely appreciated. Also, the successful reopening of decades-old criminal cases have added a feather to its cap.

When in an unprecedented move Deven Bharti was appointed special police commissioner there were fears that this will create dual authority in the police force. However, these fears have been proved wrong largely because of the mature leadership provided by Phansalkar and Bharti’s low-profile functioning.

It is at the police station level where there is tremendous scope for improvement. Registering an FIR is an herculean task. The hawker mafias continue to dominate the streets of Mumbai and rake in crores of rupees in the process. The drug menace is widespread. The back of the drug mafia is yet to be broken. Organised gangs are not as active now as before, but they are lying low for now.

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