Mumbai: 37 Crime Branch police officers move out

Citing differences with seniors and having gotten ‘tired’ of the elite unit, they had requested for transfers and moved to police stations across the city; only eight cops have been brought in to replace them

Mumbai Crime Branch, an elite unit that had the upper hand in investigations, could lose its sheen after the departure of 37 police inspectors. These cops, who each have nearly a decade of policing experience, requested to be transferred out of the Crime Branch, and have been deputed to police stations all over the city.

The Mumbai Crime branch is the backbone of the Mumbai Police and is its main investigating arm, which works on cases of crime, extortion, kidnapping, and betting. It has always trumped police stations in terms of investigations and results.

According to police sources, the officers, who had been serving in the Mumbai Crime Branch for a decade, had vast experience in terms of the city and its criminals. Sources said the officers had asked for transfers citing growing differences between the seniors and them. The transfer orders were issued after they handed in their applications.

Star departures
The Crime Branch stood to lose some of its top performers. Nandkumar Gopale, senior inspector, Property Cell, who worked on the IPL betting racket, has been moved to Byculla police station. Mukund Pawar, who served the Cyber Crime Cell for nine years and has in-depth understanding of cyber crimes, was transferred to Kandivli police station.

His colleague, Sunil Ghosalkar, also a veteran in cyber crime cases, was moved to the Juhu police station. Shripad Kale, who has a decade of experience in Chembur Crime Branch, is now the senior inspector at Bhandup police station.

Among the prominent cases Kale has to his name are: the Sandhya Singh murder, several involving aides of Chhota Rajan, and the recent kidnapping case of a builder’s son where the kidnappers fled with Rs 2 crore. Vilas Datir, the investigating officer in the murder of mid-day journalist J Dey, has been moved to Bandra police station.

Venkat Patil, who cracked the Esther Anuhya murder case, was moved from Ghatkopar Crime Branch to Ghatkopar police station. Manohar Dhanawade, who was in charge of the Shakti Mills gang rape case, is now at Mahim police station as police inspector.

As replacement, the Crime Branch has only got eight inspectors. Sixteen units of the Crime Branch are now without senior inspectors. Sources believe the mass exit arose due to differences between junior and senior officers, among other reasons. This, sources said, had caused rifts.

“With such new officers and lack of experience, it will be very difficult to run the main investigating wing of the Mumbai Police – the Crime Branch,” said a senior officer, who did not wish to be named. The Crime Branch’s loss is the police stations’ gain, with these officers bringing in their expertise at their new postings.

Sources also claimed that some of the departing officers had served for a long period in the department and had grown tired of it. As they were due for promotion, they decided to go elsewhere.

Official speak
“We have seen a lot of transfers, but a lot of new people will also be coming in from outside. New talent has been given a chance in the Crime Branch. We are also getting a lot of people in assistant police inspector and sub- inspector ranks,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, spokesperson, Mumbai Police.

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