The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has finally terminated its contract with Spider Security Services, for not seeking police verification of as many as 32 security guards that it deployed at various establishments in the city. One of these guards was Dhananjay Namdeo Rokde (29) who was arrested by the police for raping a 19-year-old girl in Wadgaon Sheri crematorium on April 6.

mid-day report on April 30
mid-day report on April 30

Police probe had already revealed that Rokde has a clear crime record, and has as many as eight cases registered against him, besides the rape case. This suggests that the rape could have been prevented if he was verified by the police before being appointed.

On April 30, mid-day had exposed how Rokde was put on the job at the crematorium at the recommendation of Shiv Sena Corporator Sachin Bhagat (‘Corporator recommended security guard without a background check’). Bhagat admitted that he was aware of Rokde’s criminal record. Left red-faced by Rokde’s arrest, the PMC had set up an inquiry against Spider Security Services that had provided them with 239 security guards for different establishments under the corporation.

Speaking to mid-day, PMC’s Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajendra Jagtap said, “Even though police verification of all guards is mandatory for all security agencies, the inquiry conducted on Spider agency revealed a major lapse on their side. Hence, their contract has been terminated and all the guards working under them will be accommodated in other agencies appointed by the PMC.”

Spider Security has total of 239 guards, who will now get absorbed by the remaining four agencies on contract with the PMC. Referring to the role played by the corporator in Rokde’s appointment, he said, “Morally, it is the responsibility of the person who recommends someone for any job in the corporation. Hence, it is indeed expected from corporators that they take utmost care and precaution before recommending any person from their area for any job in PMC.”

Jagtap added that the tendering procedure to appoint a new security agency has also been initiated. PMC security officer Santosh Pawar said, “In our inquiry report we clearly recommend that Spider Security Services be blacklisted. As the service contract of the agency has been terminated, the guards working under it would be accommodated in the remaining four agencies.”

Rokde was charged under Section 376 (rape) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC and is currently lodged in Yerawada Jail.