Mumbai: In a severe indictment of police response to the terror attack at Cama Hospital during the November 2008 terror strike in Mumbai, the 26/11 judgment comes down heavily upon the officers of the Azad Maidan police station for their “cowardice” in the face of danger.
A copy of the Special Sessions Court judgment, which was pronounced on May 3, was obtained on Monday.
Judge M.L. Tahaliyani has made these remarks with reference to the evidence of police constable Suresh Kadam and senior police inspector Yashwant Thoravade. The judgment states that a police Bolero was moved from behind the Cama Hospital “by the police officers” on seeing an injured person come out of the hospital.
Mr. Tahaliyani observes: “The prosecution has not given any explanation regarding the same [moving of Bolero]. It is, therefore, possible that PW 138 [prosecution witness Mr. Kadam], along with police officers of the Azad Maidan police station, had entered Cama Hospital and run back to the Mahapalika Road apprehending danger to their lives, as it is around this time accused No. 1 [Ajmal Kasab] and the deceased accused [Abu Ismail] had come out of the hospital. This is definitely cowardliness and lack of devotion towards the duty.”
“Fail to take lead”
The court has also criticised Mr. Thoravade for failing to take the lead in preventing the activities of Kasab and Ismail. “What is noticed by the court is that this officer [Mr. Thoravade] lacks courage to take the initiative and in the result [sic] his supporting police constable including PW 138 [Mr. Kadam] also could not do anything to stop accused No. 1 and the deceased accused from their alleged activities of firing at the public and police at Mahapalika Road and B.T. Road. As stated by me earlier … this shows cowardliness on the part of the police… I am really aghast to note that PW 128 [Mr. Thoravade] did not even bother to go to B.T. Road despite the fact that he had seen accused No. 1 and the deceased accused entering B.T. Road.”
“Instead of showing leadership quality and proceeding to B.T. Road along with his team, this officer [Mr. Thoravade] left Mahapalika Road for Metro junction, which is exactly in the opposite direction of B.T. Road. The authorities concerned will take care of the attitude of this officer on the night of the incident and it is possible that they might have taken note of it and might have taken appropriate action against the said police officer.”