mid-day impact: Court orders action against cops over Dossa's date night

Nov 08, 2017, 11:32 IST | Sailee Dhayalkar and Asif Rizvi

mid-day impact >> Court commends this paper for exposing how police allowed accused terrorist to canoodle with sweetheart on train; orders action be taken against the errant cops

mid-day impact >> Court commends this paper for exposing how police allowed accused terrorist to canoodle with sweetheart on train; orders action be taken against the errant cops

Nearly a year after this paper's expose on how Mumbai Police had allowed 1993 blasts accused Mustafa Dossa to enjoy an overnight train journey with his alleged wife Sabina Khatri, the judiciary has now ordered that action be taken against the erring cops.

Mustafa Dossa and Sabina Khatri
Mustafa Dossa and Sabina Khatri

The team of seven cops were supposed to be escorting him to Porbandar, where Dossa was being tried for smuggling deadly explosives meant to be used in the blasts that killed 257 Mumbaikars.

Flashback
It was this paper that had broken the story on January 2, highlighting how Dossa's police escort team looked the other way, even as the accused terrorist enjoyed date night with Khatri while aboard the Saurashtra express on December 25.

A day after mid-day's report, a red-faced Mumbai Police ordered an inquiry into the incident, and the day after that, the Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court also ordered an immediate probe.

Yesterday, the court observed: "The material based on the record and report by the investigating officer are self explanatory. It is pertinent that incident reported by journalist was very serious.

The journalist has done commendable job; without the publication of the report the incident wouldn't have come to light."

"The accused Mustafa Dossa was facing charges in serious 1993 bomb blast case which was at the fag end, and the report submitted states that anything could have happened. What if Mustafa Dossa had absconded? In such cases, officers are expected to be extra cautious, but they were extra lenient."

Current status
As per the court's order, Joint Commissioner of Police Deven Bharti had ordered Pravin Padwal, the then DCP of Zone 3, to conduct an inquiry. However, the court was not satisfied with the first report submitted by the police, calling it "vague". Further inquiry was conducted and a second report was filed in court on June 6. After this, the officer in charge of the escort team, Assistant Police Inspector Ayaz Patel, was found guilty and suspended. The matter was investigated by Inspector Nandkumar Gopale under the guidance of Padwal.

TADA court Judge G A Sanap yesterday passed a final order on the matter, directing Jt CP Bharti to initiate appropriate action against the seven escort officers found guilty in the police report.

While the police is still conducting a departmental inquiry, Special Public Prosecutor Deepak Salvi also recommended that charges be pressed against the errant cops under Sections 166 (public servant disobeying law), 177 (furnishing false information), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment), 219 (public servant in judicial proceeding corruptly making report), 116 (abetment of offence punishable with imprisonment), 119 (public servant concealing design to commit offence which it is his duty to prevent) of the IPC, along with relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court further observed, "If the officers are dealt strictly, in the future, it will act as a deterrent for escort officers accompanying criminals, and they will not dare to indulge in such activities."

The report also revealed corruption charges against Dossa's aide Naeem, who was had escorted Khatri to the train. The court further held that Khatri is liable for forgery charges, since she had forged a marriage certificate to meet Dossa in jail.

Dossa died due to a cardiac arrest on June 28. A day before his death, the prosecution had sought the death sentence for him. After his death, the case against him was closed.

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