Mumbai: Cop loses Rs 5 lakh in wrongful suspension, court awards him Rs 5,000

Dhananjay Bagayatkar
Dhananjay Bagayatkar

Four years after he was summarily suspended from his job for the crime of his subordinates, retired police officer Dhananjay Bagayatkar has finally got justice.

"The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) has restored my faith in the judiciary," he said, after MAT directed Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti to deposit Rs 5,000 as compensation within four weeks.

However, this does not cover the losses Bagayatkar suffered, and he will move the Bombay HC seeking more money.

The issue
The incident dates back to April 11, 2013, when Bagayatkar was senior inspector at Nehru Nagar police station. His lawyer, Advocate R G Panchal, said TV news channels had shown constables accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to illegal construction at Nehru Nagar in Kurla East. On seeing this, then commissioner Satyapal Singh had suspended Bagayatkar, stating that he had failed to guide his constables.

Bagayatkar's suspension was not lifted until June 17, 2014, when then commissioner Rakesh Maria reinstated him. This too was only after Bagayatkar filed contempt proceedings against the CP for not adhering to a tribunal order stating that the inquiry must be completed within four months or the suspension would stand revoked.

Yet another inquiry was initiated against him on July 1, 2015, and instructions were issued to withhold any increment in his salary resulting from promotions. As per Bagayatkar, this also blocked his promotion, even though he was named in the police notice as due for promotion to assistant commissioner of police (ACP).

R B Malik, vice-chairman of MAT, found in favour of Bagayatkar, but only awarded Rs 5,000 as compensation, stating that a heavy penalty would be "counter-productive" and would be cited as precedent in other cases. "In my opinion, the award of cost, even if it amounts to a slap on the wrist, would be sufficient," said Malik.

Still losing money
Panchal said, "Post retirement, he was given a notional promotion as ACP but wasn't paid the emoluments owed to ACP."

An emotional Bagayatkar said, "I lost Rs 4-5 lakh due to the action taken against me by my superiors for no fault of mine. A regular ACP would get a monthly pension of Rs 35-36,000 per month and I am still drawing only R29,000 pension. Also, I had to bear legal costs of over Rs 2 lakh. Who will compensate me?" he asked.

When contacted, Jt CP Deven Bharti said he was in a meeting and could not comment.

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Rs 35,000
Avg monthly pension of a retired assistant commissioner of police

Rs 29,000
Monthly pension drawn by retired ACP Dhananjay Bagayatkar

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