Published On: Wed, Jul 17th, 2019

HC asks Maha SIC to file affidavit on ex-Mumbai top cop’s plea

Thane: Retired Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has approached the Bombay High Court seeking to be impleaded as a respondent in a petition filed by the Maharashtra government against a State Information Commission order to probe him in connection with alleged discrepancies in the 26/11 call records.

Retired Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has approached the Bombay High Court seeking to be impleaded as a respondent in a petition filed by the Maharashtra government against a State Information Commission order to probe him in connection with alleged discrepancies in the 26/11 call records.

A division bench headed by Justice A A Sayyed Wednesday directed the SIC to file affidavit in response to Maria’s plea, and posted the application for hearing after two weeks.

In his application, Maria said as he was now retired from police service and was no more a government official, he would like to be impleaded as a respondent in the government’s petition so that he could be represented by an advocate to put forth his arguments.

The state government had approached the high court challenging a July 2014 order of the then CIC (Chief Information Commissioner) Ratnakar Gaikwad directing the government to initiate an inquiry, headed by a sitting or a retired judge, under the Commission of Inquiry Act against Maria.

The commissioner had ordered that the inquiry be carried out to know why “misleading information was provided to Vinita Kamte”, wife of additional commissioner of police Ashok Kamte who was killed in the 26/11 terror attacks.

Vinita had sought call data records of the police control room on the night of November 26, 2008 when 10 terrorists attacked Mumbai.

Maria, as the then joint commissioner of police (crime branch), had led a probe into the terror attack. He was heading the police control room for some time during the 72-hour siege of Mumbai in November 2008.

According to Vinita, the information given to her by the police was fake and did not match the original call data records submitted by the police before the court which conducted the trial in the 26/11 case.

In its petition, the government stated the CIC did not have power to direct the government to initiate an inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act.

At the most, the CIC can only impose penalty or hold some officer responsible for not providing information to the applicant, the government had said.

Vinita, under RTI, had sought call logs of wireless conversations between the control room and Kamte’s van in which he was killed along with Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar.

She had alleged that the details were first denied to her.

However, when the information was provided to her in November 2009 and February 2010, there were “serious discrepancies”, she had claimed.

Then CIC Gaikwad, in his three-page order, had stated that the information sought by Vinita was available but still was “deliberately” not shared and delays were caused.

PTI

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