The Mumbai police department is in the grip of a controversy after a tabloid reported that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Prakash Wani was partying with gangsters on Christmas eve at a club in Chembur. Mr. Wani on Saturday denied the report and his presence at the club as shown in the photograph published in the paper.

However, Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan has recommended Mr. Wani’s suspension and the State government has instituted an inquiry into Mr. Wani’s act as well as against other officers allegedly present at the party.

According to the report, Mr. Wani was seen dancing with D.K. Rao, an alleged member of the Chhota Rajan gang. He was recently released after 13 years in jail for crimes such as murder and extortion with up to 30 cases against him. He was the chief guest at the party organised to celebrate his release.

Other Rajan aides at the party included Farid Tanasha and Sunil Poddar. The paper claims to have two video clips of the revelry capturing the police men and the underworld gangsters.

Calling the story “ridiculous and baseless,” Mr. Wani told The Hindu over phone, “Even a child can tell it’s not me in the photograph. They [paper] could have verified if I was there. It is not the truth and the truth will come out in [the] inquiry.”

Commenting on his presence at the club, Mr. Wani said, “I am a member of the Chembur Gymkhana and I can always access the sports facilities and the restaurant. If I am invited to an event, is it wrong to attend it? I was there with my wife and daughter,” he said.

He said he was only answerable to his department and would give his reply during the inquiry, and if need be, would consult legal advisers for further action.

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