Mumbai

Pragya Thakur’s statement on Hemant Karkare attracts police force’s outrage

Hemant Karkare   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Indian Police Service (IPS) fraternity and the Maharashtra Police force expressed outrage at the remarks by Pragya Singh Thakur — an accused in the Malegaon blasts case and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat — on former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare who was killed in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

Ms. Thakur said on Friday that Karkare died because of his karma as he had falsely implicated her in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case.

A.N. Roy, who was the Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) when the investigation into the Malegaon blasts was conducted, said he was “completely shocked”. “Ever since my superannuation, I have never once commented on police matters. However, the blatant nature in which an accused in an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act case is attacking my colleague who is not around to defend himself is most shameful. As Maharashtra ATS chief, Karkare led the investigation most professionally. I stand by my officer and colleague,” Mr. Roy said.

He said, “I would like to point out here that the charges were framed by the court, not by the police, who only filed a charge sheet. The accused repeatedly moved the High Court and Supreme Court to quash the FIR against them, but despite that, the trial is under way as we speak. As many as 102 witnesses have already been examined. Such statements amount to contempt of court.”

Serving officers, while declining to be named, said the statement attracted criticism as soon as it started making the rounds on social media and news channels.

“There is no scope for any doubt that Karkare was an inspiration to a lot of us, not just because of his valour but also the work that he put in during his various postings. There are many of us across ranks who learned from him and looked up to him,” an officer said.

Serving ATS officers, too, expressed anger and resentment at the “unsavoury” statements.

“A uniformed force demands a certain etiquette which we are bound to respect. However, this does not mean anyone, after getting a political platform, has the licence to fling mud at someone who literally laid his life down for the country,” an ATS officer said.

IPS officer K.P. Raghuvanshi, who took charge of the ATS after Karkare’s demise, called the statement “unfortunate”. “Ms. Thakur and the other accused were no longer in police custody when I took over and I never once interrogated them. Hence, I cannot comment on the claims made by her, but her statement about a martyred officer’s sacrifice is unfortunate,” he said.

Calling her comment “nonsensical”, retired State DGP K. Subramaniam said, “It is easy to make such statements about someone who is no longer around to defend himself.”

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 11:20:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pragya-thakurs-statement-attracts-police-forces-outrage/article26891925.ece

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