nce upon a time Mumbai was under too much of threat by the underworld honchos, on one hand cops pulled their socks for gunning down terrorists and on the other hand there were gang wars, murders, killings and blasts. The city was shaken and at unrest, this cruel saga of killing innocent people continued in 1993 after the Babri Masjid demolition. The 1993 blasts left 257 people dead, injured 1,400 and delivered a massive blow to Mumbai’s psyche. The bombings were also Mumbai’s first exposure to terror. For decades, the Mumbai noir had been dominated by gold smuggling, with its auxiliary industry of crime and gang warfare.
Dawood Ibrahim, the son of a constable who had then become the city’s most powerful criminal figure, and eventually became India’s most-wanted man and now even Interpol is also in his look out. Ibrahim, along with Tiger Memon, was widely seen as having masterminded these attacks. After damaging the city to its core, they ran out of the country but their counterparts were not only conditioned but also mobilized to execute blasts around the Mumbai. Indeed, terrorism has struck Mumbai most often – a city that also seems to be the least equipped for it.
In 2003, the city froze in terrified episodes, as blasts shamed two other icons, the Gateway of India and the jewellery hub of Zaveri Bazar. The series of blasts kept on occurring thereafter. In 2006, serial blasts tore through its busy suburban train network during peak hour rush, killing more than 180 people. At 18:45 PM on Monday, 2 December 2002, a bomb placed under a seat of a BEST bus exploded near the busy Ghatkopar station. The bomb was placed in the rear of a bus near the station and killed two people and injured over 50. Ghatkopar being the final stop, all the passengers in the bus had just alighted and passengers for the return trip had not yet entered the bus. The people who were killed were those present in the busy bus station area. Later, the police defused an unexploded bomb from another BEST bus in SEEPZ industrial area at Andheri. The convicts in the 25 August 2003 Mumbai bombings, the twin bomb blasts in Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India also confessed to planting the unexploded bomb in the bus in SEEPZ area in suburban Mumbai.
The police arrested several suspects for the blast. All were acquitted in the following trials. One of the arrested was Khwaja Yunus, who died in police custody due to cruelty caused by cops. The accused policemen were being tried in a fast track court. Look at the irony, the one who died his death in police custody was not a saint for sure and the police those accused of death were facing legal actions against them.
These cops were under tremendous media and court trials. Some journalists went on calling them corrupts and dirty harries, those days media was divided. Some were hell-bent on emphasizing the human rights for suspects and accused persons in blasts, and some were rational enough in calling it a spread. More than the suspects, those innocents who were killed in the blast too deserved justice. But we all know how our judiciary functions, Mumbai was scared and tarnished in so-called revenge. This was the first in a series of five bombings against the city within a period of fewer than nine months.
Then, in November 2008, there was a 60-hour siege of the city in what turned out to be the largest terror strike in India. Attacks on the railway station, luxury hotels, and a Jewish cultural center claimed 166 lives. It drew Mumbai and India into global terror, and was the true successor to the 1993 bombings, in terms of trauma.
Sachin Vaze was part of the encounter squad with former police inspector Pradeep Sharma, now a Shiv Sena worker who contested and faced a humiliating defeat in 2019 on Sena’s ticked. Retired ACP Praful Bhosle, police inspector Dayanand Nayak and others in the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Police. Sachin Vaze, during his tenure with the CIU, was involved in around 63 encounters. He was accused of covering up the custodial death. He has also been charged with creating a scene that Yunus escaped from the custody near Partner in Ahmednagar district while he was taking him to Parbhani for investigation. There were many theories and trials in this case but somewhere, Vaze was boasting confident of his “innocence” in this case. Investigations by the state CID in 2003 found that Vaze’s escape theory was false and that Yunus actually died in police custody. Vaze was suspended for being responsible for Yunus’ death. Later, in 2007, the investigations were getting lengthy and Sachin resigned from the Police force and joined Shiv Sena.
On the night of the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, Vaze was seen driving the car of then Leader of Opposition Ramdas Kadam. It is believed that it was Vaze who had brought it to Kadam’s notice that then Commissioner of Police Hassan Gafoor was sleeping in his official car outside Hotel Trident, where two Pakistani terrorists had struck. His close proxy with Shiv Sena can be one of the prominent reasons that he returned to the department.
Let it be Daya Nayak, Pradeep Sharma, Ravindra Angry or Sachin Vaze, and all other so-called encounter cops, they all have gone through the wrath, and gradually returned to the department. A few among them, later on, resigned from duties and joined politics and faced embarrassing downfall. Some cops’ smarty endeavored into businesses and social services, there are hardly any examples of cops becoming successful politicians in Indian history. But there are several examples to witness, where police and politicians broke bread together.
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