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Cop arrives drunk to court, claims it was 'cough syrup'

Senior inspector's inebriation causes irked public prosecutor to summon his superior, while advocates standing near him claim he was reeking of alcohol, seniors to initiate inquiry

For all of its campaigns against alcohol-related improprieties, here's news that is sure to leave the city's cops red in the face. On Saturday, Senior Inspector of the Kanjurmarg police station Rajkumar Sukhadev Wakale was pulled up at the High Court by a public prosecutor for showing up for a hearing under the influence of alcohol.

Wakale, however, insisted that the stench was raised by the cough medication he had taken. An advocate who had been seated near Wakale said, "He was definitely under the influence of alcohol. It was shocking, given that it was only noon. It's not even that he was suffering from a hangover from the previous night. He had come to court inebriated."

Another advocate who was present in court said on condition of anonymity, "I was standing a few metres away from the inspector, and he was reeking of alcohol. Outraged, the Additional Public Prosecutor Poornima Kantharia summoned Wakale's superior officer." Kantharia then directed ACP Vilas Marathe of the Bhandup division, who is Wakale's immediate superior, to enquire into the matter.

Both the ACP and Wakale were in court for the purpose of attending a hearing in a criminal writ petition filed before Justices VM Kanade and PD Kode, in connection with a property dispute. Confirming the incident, Marathe said, "Kantharia suspected that Wakale was under the influence of alcohol. She directed me to take action against him in accordance with the law, and I will report him to our superiors."

This is not the first instance of cops violating court decorum. In January, Assistant Commissioner of Police AV Patil was served a contempt notice by a bench of justices after he answered his mobile phone inside the courtroom, and continued a prolonged conversation in spite of being asked to terminate it. Speaking to MiD DAY, Kantharia said, "It would not be appropriate of me to comment." DCP Nisar Tamboli, spokesperson for the Mumbai police, said, "I am not aware of the incident."

The other side
Wakale denied the allegations, saying, "There is no such enquiry. In fact, I had taken some cough medication. I was able to satisfactorily answer all the questions asked of me by the prosecutor regarding the case."

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