Pradeep Suryavanshi, convicted of killing gangster Lakhan Bhaiyya, was out on parole for heart surgery and was supposed to return to jail in March. While he hasn’t bothered to go back, a jail official says cops are not too keen to arrest him
The cop who murdered an alleged gangster and later made it look like an encounter has now (been) dropped off the police’s radar. It appears he is playing hookey while on parole from jail, while his friends in the police force are not exactly moving mountains to lodge him back behind bars.
Playing truant: Suryavanshi seen outside court in July last year, after being convicted of murder. File pic
Former cop Pradeep Suryavanshi, convicted last year for killing Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiyya in a fake encounter in 2006, has jumped parole with what appears to be full impunity. Officials from Taloja jail said that after his parole lapsed, he has not yet reported to them.
Although the MHB police station lodged a complaint against Suryavanshi on April 26, mid-day learned from the jail officials that the cops are not particularly losing sleep in attempting to trace him.
Sources from MHB police station revealed that in December 2013, Suryavanshi got out of jail after obtaining a 30-day parole from court, citing severe chest pain. He was reportedly advised by doctors to undergo a bypass surgery to clear blockages in his heart. He eventually extended the parole for two more months. As such, he was supposed to surrender before court by March-end.
But according to jail officials, he has still not bothered to report to the jail.
Narrating the details, Taloja jail superintendent Shivaji Ajme said, “He has not reported to us, and we registered a complaint with the MHB police station on April 26. The local police have been delaying the arrest for no reason.”
Pradeep Suryavanshi was convicted along with 20 others in the fake encounter case of alleged underworld gangster Lakhan Bhaiyya. File pic
Justifying the delay, senior inspector Ashok Kalmalkar of MHB police station said, “Suryavanshi is currently at Bombay Hospital, as he underwent a bypass surgery just before the elections (April 24).” This is a claim that this paper’s investigations later exposed as a lie.
Kalmalkar further said, “Based on the complaint of jail officials we have registered an offence under Section 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) of the Indian Penal Code.”
Bombay Hospital, however, denied admitting any person by this name. Spokesperson for the facility, Dr Sagar Sakale, said, “No such patient was admitted in our hospital. I also checked the bypass ward and no such patient was brought to the hospital.”
Meanwhile, inquiries by mid-day revealed that Suryavanshi was operated in Jaslok Hospital almost a month ago — on April 2.
His brother, Dilip Suryavanshi, who has retired as assistant commissioner of police, confirmed this, adding, “My brother is recuperating at home.”
Lakhan Bhaiyya was said to be underworld don Chhota Rajan’s close aide. Four days after the fake encounter on November 11, 2006, his brother moved the Bombay High Court alleging that Bhaiyya was killed in cold blood by a D N Nagar police team. During a court-ordered probe, it was revealed that Bhaiyya was killed at point-blank range.
After the slaying, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested at least 22 people, including encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, and charged them in connection with the killing. While the case was on trial at the sessions court, prime witness Anil Bheda went missing from his Vashi home on March 13, just days before he was to depose. He was later found dead in the jungles of Manor, Thane.
After almost four years, the sessions court convicted 21 people including 13 police personnel in the case.
Investigations into the case revealed that Bhaiyya was picked up by Pradeep Sharma’s team from Vashi along with Anil Bheda, and later eliminated the same evening in an alleged encounter near Nana Nani Park at Versova in western suburban Mumbai. On March 13, 2011, Bheda, the key witness to the encounter, also went missing from Vashi. His decomposed body was found by the Navi Mumbai police two months later on June 30.
Those convicted in the fake encounter case for murder and conspiracy are Tanaji Desai, Pradeep Suryavanshi and Dilip Palande. The 17 others convicted for aiding and abetting the encounter are Ratnakar Kamble, Shailendra Pandey, Hitesh Solanki, Vinayak Shinde, Manoj Raj, Sunil Solanki, Nitin Sartape, Mohamed Shailk, Devidas Sakpal, Janardan Bhange, Prakash Kadam, Ganesh Harpude, Anand Patade, Pandurang Kokam, Sandip Sarkar, Suresh Shetty, and Arvind Sarvankar.
In July last year, Pradeep Suryavanshi, who was at the time senior inspector at MIDC police station, was convicted along with 20 others — including 13 Mumbai police personnel — in the fake encounter case of alleged underworld gangster Lakhan Bhaiyya. Three policemen including Suryavanshi, were convicted of murder, while 10 of aiding and abetting the encounter on November 11, 2006. Of the convicted lot, eight people are civilians.
90: Number of days Suryavanshi had obtained his extended parole for
March-end: The time Suryavanshi was supposed to return to jail after the end of his parole