Two senior cops — a deputy superintendent and an assistant inspector — attached to the Pune (rural) police have been arrested for molesting a woman at her birthday celebration.
ACP (South Region) Krishna Prakash (in pic) said that API Yede’s cellphone and ID card had fallen from his pocket. The team found the items at the hotel during investigation. File pic
The Gamdevi police arrested Dy SP Vaibhav Kaluvame and API Sandeep Yede on Monday, after they sexually assaulted the woman and threatened her husband at a hotel in Gamdevi, where the couple was celebrating her 35th birthday on Sunday. While Yede was suspended immediately following the arrest, it has been learnt that DSP Kaluvame would be served a deemed suspension notice as well.
The incident came to light when the woman lodged a complaint with Gamdevi police against three persons, claiming they sexually assaulted her at Hotel Krishna Palace after 11.30 pm on Sunday. While Dy SP Kaluvame and API Yede were caught after cops recovered Yede’s ID card and phone from the spot, the third person is yet to be identified.
The trio has been booked under sections 354 (molestation), 323 (assault), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (act done by several persons with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. The two cops, however, are out on bail.
Additional Commissioner of Police Krishna Prakash said, “Vaibhav Kaluvame is a Dy SP attached with the Pune (rural) police’s Lonavala area and Sandeep Yede is an assistant police inspector attached to the Pune (rural) police. The victim had approached our policemen and claimed that three persons had molested and manhandled her. When her husband and his friend confronted the aggressors, they threatened them with their police ranks. “During the scuffle, which has been captured clearly on a CCTV camera, Yede’s mobile handset and ID card fell down from his pocket. Our team found the items at the hotel during investigation.”
Pune (Rural) Superintendent of Police Manojkumar Lohiya said, “We have initiated an inquiry against the two policemen. We have suspended API Yede and will be sending a ‘deemed suspension’ notice to Dy SP Kaluvame.”
Sources in Pune police told this paper, “The Dy SP had gone to Bombay High Court on Friday for a hearing and returned to Pune the next day. On Sunday morning, he, API Yede and a friend of theirs visited the Gamdevi hotel. During initial inquiry, the Dy SP claimed that he had planned to stay in Mumbai after the hearing. But call records and vehicle details show he had gone to Mumbai again around 5 am on Sunday. The API was earlier attached to the Lonavala (rural) police, but superiors had received oral complaints against him for misusing his powers in land grab cases, and he was transferred to the Anti-Dacoity Cell of the Pune (rural) police.”
According to the police, the complainant had booked a hall in Gamdevi's Krishna Palace hotel for her birthday celebration on Sunday. Around 11.30 pm, she made her way to the buffet counters to get dinner with her husband and a friend.
But there was a huge crowd waiting for their turn. That's when the Dy SP and an unidentified person approached her and touched her private parts. The woman raised an alarm and told her husband and friend, but the Dy SP and his companion started running run away. API Yede joined them.
“The victim’s husband and friend chased the trio. That's when the API started abusing them and told them not to chase cops or they would have to bear the consequences."
Investigation revealed that the accused trio had come to Mumbai in a police vehicle and shopped through the day. Later they halted at the Flute section of Krishna Palace hotel for drinks and dinner.
The accused cops were arrested and produced before the court of judicial magistrate (first class). They were remanded in magisterial custody till November 24, but later granted bail after they furnished a solvent security bail of R10,000 each.