In a major embarrassment for Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria, Maharashtra’s transparency watchdog has recommended a judicial inquiry against him for “withholding and giving misleading” information to the wife of an IPS officer killed during the 26/11 terror attack.
Chief Information Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, in a recent order, asked the state government to institute an inquiry headed by a sitting or retired judge under Commission of Inquiry Act to go into why “misleading” information was provided to Vinita Kamte, wife of slain IPS officer Ashok Kamte, by Maria.
“Considering the information available, it looks like in this matter misleading information was provided, deliberately no information was shared or information was destroyed, delays were caused in providing information etc. And the Commission agrees with the doubts raised by the complainant (Vinita Kamte),” Gaikwad said in a scathing 3-page order passed on July 9.
“Hence, I order the state government through the Chief Secretary to initiate an inquiry under the Commission of Enquiry Act 1952 headed by a sitting or retired judge,” the order said.
Maria as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) had led the probe into the brazen terror assault launched by 10 Pakistani terrorists on November 26, 2008 and was heading the police control room for some time during the 59-hour siege.
Vinita Kamte had under RTI sought call logs of wireless conversations between the control room and Kamte’s van in which he was killed with Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar.
She had alleged the details were first denied to her. However, when information was provided in November 2009 and February 2010, there were “serious discrepancies”.
“Maria did not allow information to be shared with Vinita Kamte. It is highly irresponsible. Is he trying to hide some information in the matter? It looks like if an impartial inquiry is not initiated then Vinita and the public will not be able to receive true information,” the order that read like a virtual indictment of Maria, who took over as Mumbai Police Commissioner in February this year, said.
Vinita has accused Maria of not telling her who sent her husband towards Cama Hospital where he was killed even though he was in charge of the main control room during the first few hours of the attack.