Ousted, Rakesh Maria Says He Won’t Lead Probe into Sheena Murder
Ousted Mumbai top cop is not interested in leading the investigation into Sheena Bora’s murder after his transfer.
Ousted Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria is not interested in leading the investigation into the sensational Sheena Bora murder case after his transfer yesterday as Director-General of Police (Home Guards), top police sources confirmed to The Quint.
Did IPS Lobby Have Rakesh Maria Removed?
Knowledgeable sources said that Maria believes that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ decision to transfer him before flying out to Japan was not political and that he suspects a strong IPS lobby in the state, worked the bureaucratic levers to have him removed as Mumbai Police chief.
The sources also said that Maria’s disinclination to continue leading the investigation into the case stems from the fact that the state government did not issue any written order directing him to remain in command of the probe. “Without written directives, Maria has no locus standi to pursue the case which is being pursued on the ground by a team of officers whom he has complete faith and trust on,” a very senior official told The Quint.
If Maria Retains Probe, Expect Collision with New Police Chief
The Fadnavis government’s flip-flop over the transfer of Rakesh Maria as Director-General (Home Guards) and subsequently allowing him to retain leadership of the Sheena Bora murder investigation will certainly adversely affect the course of the probe should his successor as Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmed Javed, being his senior in service, refuses to report to him on the case.
At the same time, the departmental inquiry against Mumbai Police Additional Commissioner (Central Region) RD Shinde who was the Raigad Superintendent of Police when a body purported to be that of Sheena Bora was discovered on May 23, 2012, a month after her disappearance, is turning out to be a sham.
Top Police Sources: Why is ACP Not Being Penalised?
In gross violation of police rules and regulations, Shinde continues to perform his duties in his current capacity as Additional Commissioner when he should have been suspended pending completion of the inquiry against him.
The charge against Shinde, who is widely known to wield considerable political clout because of his proximity to senior Nationalist Congress Party leaders, is that he instructed Pen police station officers to take no action when they were informed that some human remains stuffed in a large suitcase were found in the nearby forest. A top police source said that it “was an unpardonable mistake to not order registration of an accidental death or a murder case.”
State Director-General of Police Sanjeev Dayal, who ordered the inquiry when the matter came to light after it was strongly suspected that the body parts belonged to Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora, admitted to The Quint that “prima facie there is a case of dereliction of duty against Shinde.”
Sources said Dayal doesn’t want to quickly conclude the inquiry against Shinde because he has barely 20 days before he demits office and, therefore, doesn’t want a controversy at the end of his tenure in police service.
Dayal, however, said that the probe was still on but made no comment when it was pointed out that Shinde continued to discharge his duties when he should have been put under suspension till such time that the inquiry was not completed. A senior IPS officer is suspected to have spoken to Shinde around the time the body parts were discovered, leading to speculations that no accidental death report or a murder case was registered at the prompting of the yet-to-be-identified officer.
State Government Too Hasty
It is now clear that Maria’s sudden and unceremonious removal as Mumbai Police chief was the outcome of the state government’s clumsy and ham-handed approach to oust him from the job. While government sources agreed that “the Sheena murder investigation reeked of a personalised approach and hence a cloud hangs over it, the state administration’s move too reflected immaturity.”
The sources said that the government on its part perceived the murder investigation lacking transparency, which has been refuted by Maria who has claimed that he kept Fadnavis and the home secretary informed of the outcome of each round of interrogation he conducted at Khar police station. The perception among bureaucrats was that while Maria is recognised as a meticulous officer, his deep interest in the case raised questions of his alleged proximity to Peter Mukerjea.
Maria a Meticulous Officer
Sources in the police as well as the bureaucracy acknowledge Maria’s professionalism and his so-called “efficient network” which has enabled him to successfully solve controversial and tough cases in the past. But his appearance day in and day out at Khar police station raised several eyebrows, leading Fadnavis to show him his place.
Maria was allowed to retain charge of the investigation when he threatened to quit service. Police sources now feel that “ego clashes” between Maria and his successor Ahmed Javed may erupt. Being senior to Maria, Javed may well refuse to report to the former or cooperate on the investigation. Consequently, the quality of the investigation will suffer should Javed effect a squeeze on the resources he commands as commissioner.
State government sources said that Javed’s appointment as commissioner is a “stop gap” arrangement as he is left with only four months of service before he retires in January 2016. They said that the BJP state leadership will, in the meantime, scout around for a commissioner with a longer tenure. This will also give the ruling party greater control over the commissionerate.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.