Yerawada Deputy IG in the eye of a storm

Allegedly arranged secret meeting in jail

April 06, 2018 11:14 pm | Updated June 17, 2021 09:02 pm IST - Pune

Swati Sathe, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons), is at the centre of a controversy over allegedly facilitating a meeting between an unknown person and Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote inside Yerawada Jail.

Mr. Ekbote is a prime accused in the Bhima-Koregaon riots of January 1.

The complaint against Ms. Sathe has been made by Hiralal Jadhav, former superintendent of Thane Central Prison who was suspended following allegations of sexual harassment by a woman constable. Mr. Ekbote was arrested by a Pune Rural Police team on March 14 after the Supreme Court cancelled his interim bail relief.

Mr. Jadhav has claimed that Ms. Sathe accompanied an unknown person in her vehicle to meet the Hindutva leader sometime between March 24 and 25. He said he had obtained this information through his ‘sources’ at Yerawada Jail.

Copies of the complaint have been sent to the office of the Inspector General (Prisons), the Prime Minister’s Office and the President of India, seeking an inquiry into the matter.

“There was no entry in the register about this person. Ms. Sathe has clearly exploited her position to facilitate this illicit rendezvous,” said Mr. Jadhav.

Rejecting the charges, Ms. Sathe said she had not received any intimation of a complaint on behalf of Mr. Jadhav, neither had any higher authority asked her for an explanation.

However, a number of social outfits have sought an investigation against Ms. Sathe. Anjum Inamdar, an activist with the Moolnivas Muslim Manch, said: “The Bhima-Koregaon riot is an extremely sensitive matter. We demand that the CCTV footage from Yerawada prison be immediately examined and the identity of this person be disclosed. If this incident is true, then it is regrettable that an IPS officer like Ms. Sathe is part of it and action must be taken against her.” His organisation is planning a protest in front of the Yerwada Jail on Saturday.

Santosh Shinde of Sambhaji Brigade said, “He [Ekbote] was clearly being visited by someone connected with the riots with the intent to probably help obliterate his crime. Sathe’s actions in allowing this visitor to meet Ekbote without any record of the meeting are highly condemnable.” Mr. Shinde said CCTV footage should be examined to identify the mystery visitor.

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