It sounds as if the Mumbai Police department, plagued by an acute shortage of staff, has been trying to fill in spots by raising the dead. A Mumbai Crime Branch officer who died in an accident on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in 2011 was recently promoted and shifted to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), as per the list announcing transfers released by the department last week.
The list declares that deceased police inspector Anand Gawde has been promoted to assistant commissioner of police. The communication, however, erroneously states his designation as senior police inspector. A source from the force said, “How is it possible that a dead man has been promoted and transferred? It’s a big mistake on the part of the administration. The department is supposed to keep records of all the officers dead or alive. Even in 2001, one of my fellow officers, who had died in 1997, was promoted and transferred.”
The department is provided with updated information about all the officers. If a particular officer has died in an incident, they are immediately given the information. So the howler has raised many eyebrows in surprise. According to an officer who worked with him, Inspector Gawde was a frequent visitor of Pune, his native place, and used to visit the city at least twice a year. Gawde, accompanied by his brother-in-law, had gone to Pune to attend a relative’s wedding but while he was driving back to Mumbai, he apparently lost control of his Maruti Alto, following which the car fell into a gorge, killing Gawde and his brother-in-law on the spot.
At the time the accident occurred, Gawde was posted with Unit V of the Crime Branch as a police inspector. During his last days at work, he was investigating the serial murders of minor girls at Nehru Nagar in Kurla. He was also assisting in the case of deputy superintendent of police Ashok Dhavle, who was arrested in February 2011 for possessing 1.5 kg of brown sugar, an illegal substance. Asked to comment on the blooper, official spokesperson of the Mumbai Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police Satyanarayan Chaudhary, said, “I will have to check the records.”