Encounter specialist scared of Naxals!
The Mumbai Encounter Squad, as it’s unofficially known, rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s — a direct upshot of the emergence of Dawood Ibrahim and his D-company. Urban cowboys of the police department like Daya Nayak, Pradeep Sharma, Praful Bhosale, Raju Pillai, Vijay Salaskar etc became cult figures. Another such name is Ravindra Angre, who executed notorious Thane gangster Suresh Manchekar in 2003 apart from more than 50 others.
But now, 55-year-old Angre has seemingly lost his nerve. Police sources say after the director general of police’s office transferred the daredevil cop to the Naxal-infested Gadchiroli district five months ago, Angre went on leave for an unspecified period of time, citing ill health.
“We have suspended Angre since he had not reported on duty,” confirmed special inspector general of police (establishment), Dr BK Upadhyay.
Angre, a 1983 batch officer from Maharashtra Police Training Academy, is no stranger to controversy. On February 22, 2008 he was arrested after Thane-based builders Ganesh and Mahesh Wagh had registered an FIR against him for threatening them at gunpoint and forcing them to transfer their shares in his wife’s name. After spending 14 months in prison, he was released from Thane Central Jail when the Supreme Court granted him bail. He was later cleared of the charges and was reinstated in the police force in January 2010.
In July this year, Angre was shunted out of Thane police department and transferred to Gadchiroli. Though he reported to work after receiving the orders, he immediately called in sick and applied for leave.
Sources from the DGP’s office said keeping Angre’s heydays in mind, the department had decided to shift him to Gadchiroli to take on the Naxals. However, police officers say gunning down hardened criminals and handling Naxals are poles apart.
“Usually a posting in such an area is considered a punishment. Most policemen who are transferred to Naxal-infested regions call in sick. You have
to be really fortunate to be able to complete your tenure at such police stations.
Several cops are killed every year in these areas. Even insurance companies have refused to tie up with Mumbai police force as they earlier incurred heavy losses paying claims to the martyrs’ families,” an officer who has served in the Red Corridor said.
When contacted by MiD DAY, Angre only said, “I have resumed my posting.”
On February 22, 2008 Ravindra Angre was arrested after Thane-based builders Ganesh and Mahesh Wagh had registered an FIR against him for threatening them at gunpoint and forcing them to transfer their shares in his wife’s name. After spending 14 months in prison, he was released from Thane Central Jail when the Supreme Court granted him bail. File pic
Number of encounters Ravindra Angre has conducted in his career. Sources from the DGP’s office said keeping Angre’s heydays in mind, the department had decided to shift him to Gadchiroli to take on the Naxals
While taking charge as DGP, Maharashtra in July this year, Sanjeev Dayal, the senior-most IPS officer in the state had claimed that tackling terrorism and Naxalism would be his top priorities.
>> According to figures available, 104 security personnel and 94 civilians have been killed in Maharashtra by Naxals since 2005.
>> From November 2011 to April 15, 2012, 14 security men have died at the hands of Naxals in the state.