mid-day hunts down ‘missing’ constable Shivaji Sawant’s son; confirms that Constable 2985, who ferried Salman Khan’s blood sample from hospital to Bandra police station, retired four years before the 2002 accident. Red-faced, Mumbai police launch inquiry
An inquiry has been initiated by the Mumbai police following mid-day’s front page story dated December 12 on the identity of Constable 2985, who is said to have accompanied actor Salman Khan to JJ Hospital for a blood test following the September 28, 2002 hit-and-run accident on Hill Road, Bandra.
Constable 2985, late Shivaji Sawant’s son Shankar Shivaji Sawant confirmed that his father retired four years before the hit-and-run accident. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
After the medical examination and blood alcohol test, it was he who brought the samples back from the hospital to Bandra police station. According to master police records accessed by this reporter on Friday, the said constable had retired four years before the accident.
The records identified the constable known throughout the trial simply as “constable with buckle number 2985” as Shivaji Sawant. Following mid-day’s report, Sawant’s son Shankar Shivaki Sawant, constable with Kalachowkie police station, was summoned to Bhoiwada police station for questioning on Saturday afternoon, and his statement taken.
Constable Shankar Sawant, who stays in Bhoiwada’s police quarters, spoke exclusively to mid-day, confirming yesterday’s report. “My father, Shivaji Sawant joined the Mumbai police in 1960. His buckle number is 2985. I have proof of the same with me.
He was posted at Azad Maidan, Dadar, Borivali and Bhoiwada police stations. Never in his life was he posted at Bandra police station,” he said, adding that his father had passed away last year following prolonged illness. “In June 1998, after my father retired, he relocated to Mahad and lived there until his death. A few years before he passed away, he was struck by a paralytic attack,” said Shankar, refusing to reveal more.
Police records accessed by this paper corroborate Shankar’s story. Shivaji Sawant’s last posting was at Bhoiwada police station from where he retired at the rank of assistant sub-inspector after 38 years of service.
Joint commissioner of police (law and order) Deven Bharti, said, “We are conducting an inquiry. DCP Zone 9 (Bandra police station falls under the said zone) will examine the facts. The report and findings will be submitted on Monday.” Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “We are gathering information on the matter.”
Constable 2985 was one of the witnesses who the trial court wanted examined. But the police could not locate him and presented police sub inspector Vijay Salunkhe, who was the supervisory officer of constable 2985.
That the constable who allegedly accompanied Khan could not be called for questioning was one of the major points that went against the prosecution during the appeal in the high court. A police officer, requesting anonymity, said, “Buckle number 2985 was the one who ferried the blood samples from JJ.
He signed on the register and offered his buckle number 2985 to hospital officials before collecting the samples as per procedure. It’s a major loophole in the case.” mid-day on Friday had accessed police department records in the Kaksh Section of the commissioner’s office.
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