Mumbai

Vaze, others reinstated due to acute shortage of police personnel, HC told

A committee headed by the Commissioner of Police (CP) decided to reinstate 18 suspended personnel, including assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze and three police constables accused of killing Khwaja Yunus in police custody, after many police personnel tested COVID-19 positive. This was stated in an affidavit filed by Nawal Bajaj, Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration), in the Bombay High Court on Thursday.

The affidavit was submitted in connection with a criminal petition filed by Asiya Begum (72) through advocate Chetan Mali to withdraw the revocation of suspension of four policemen accused of killing her son Yunus (27) in police custody in Powai in January 2003.

In his nine-page affidavit, Mr. Bajaj said following a high court order, Sachin Vaze was suspended on March 3, 2004, and the three police constables on April 8, 2004. Quoting an order passed by Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) on February 1, 2006, the affidavit stated, “ ‘Now when proper investigation into the matter concerning escape/suspected death of the arrested accused is underway, there is no point in conducting any enquiry, regarding the escape of accused from the custody. Such enquiry will contravene the legal provisions and hence will be ultra vires in my opinion’, this was approved by the CP.”

“The then CP decided not to conduct disciplinary proceedings against the delinquents since they are facing criminal prosecution in respect of the same case, relying on Rule 4.2 of the Departmental Enquiry Manual which states that it would be practical for the Disciplinary Authority to wait for the final outcome of the criminal case where Departmental Enquiry is proposed on the charges arising out of similar incident,” the affidavit read.

It added, “The quarterly meeting for the review of the suspended policemen was held amidst the pandemic on June 5 wherein large scale spread of the virus amongst policemen was a vital issue to be considered. The Committee was headed by CP and cases of all suspended police personnel were put up before the committee which included cases of API Sachin Vaze and three constables.”

“Considering the overwhelming scenario of need of more policemen on duty, the committee decided 18 suspended personnel, in which guidelines followed by the review committee, were matched to resume duties. A circular dated October 14, 2011 issued by the Government of Maharashtra (General Administrative Department) which stated that depending on the facts and circumstances of the case where even after two years of filing a chargesheet before competent court, case is pending, the review committee may recommend to end the suspension of the delinquents and post them to non-executive branch. The four personnel were in continuous suspension for the last 16 years and they have been directed to resume service in view of the peculiar circumstances,” the affidavit read.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 11:40:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/vaze-others-reinstated-due-to-acute-shortage-of-police-personnel-hc-told/article32107333.ece

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