Pune: A day after former Pune police commissioner Gulabrao Pol slapped a Rs.1 billion defamation notice against a popular news magazine, the publication on Tuesday released a video of a sting operation that showed a 'tantrik' was employed to obtain clues about the killers of renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
The sting video by Outlook magazine also lays hollow the claims by Pol that he had never met reporter Ashish Khaitan or the 'tantrik' - retired police officer Manish Thakur. The magazine had run a story in its July 14 issue alleging that Pune police had requisitioned the services of the 'tantrik' to summon Dabholkar's soul and get clues on his mystery killers.
Dabholkar was shot dead Aug 20 last year. Even after more than 11 months having elapsed since he was gunned down during his morning walk, police have failed to solve the killing, and handed over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation. Alleging that the magazine article was defamatory, the 2012 President's Medal winner Pol shot off a Rs.100 crore defamation notice to Outlook editor Krishna Prasad and reporter Khaitan.
Pol's lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar said his client (Pol) had already denied the contentions in the magazine article which were "per se defamatory, false, frivolous and intended for cheap publicity" that lowered the public standing of the retired police officer. He also announced plans to file a separate criminal case against Khaitan, who Pol claimed had never met him.
Pol has denied using supernatural methods like engaging a 'tantrik' to solve the case. However, the sting video shows how Pol not only hired Thakur's services last month in his office, but also gave him money and a vehicle and discussed ways to communicate with Dabholkar's soul to find out who killed him. The sting video - running into nearly six hours - also shows Thakur demonstrating to the reporter how he 'called' Dabholkar's soul and spoke to him.
Shockingly, the video also shows how police regularly utilise the help of 'tantriks' and 'godmen' to solve various criminal cases, raising questions about the efficacy of trained investigators. Reacting to the sting operation, a stunned Mukta Dabholkar (daughter of the late rationalist) on Tuesday demanded immediate action by the authorities in the matter.