With two suspensions and several controversies to his name, fire officer Shashikant Kale is a tainted man. But that never stopped him from climbing up the ranks in the fire brigade and, today, he is the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of the Thane fire department.
Kale, who was earlier serving as the deputy CFO in the Mumbai department was last week promoted to CFO of the Thane brigade, just 1.5 years after he was suspended for wrongfully issuing an NOC to a Mahim building despite violations of fire safety norms. In fact, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta had made scathing remarks pertaining to Kale’s inquiry. “Pursued the file, the matter is very serious, major penalty is called for, five increments be stopped with permanent effect. He should not be involved in the work of giving NOC in future. Above penalty be enforced and to be reinstated,” stated Mehta in an internal letter from October 2015 (mid-day has a copy).
In another report from December 2015, the fire department questioned Kale’s functioning. The report categorically stated that Kale had flaunted various rules when he was working as Deputy CFO from November 2005 to May 2011. mid-day had also reported last year that when Kale was station officer at the Shivaji Park fire station about eight years ago, he was found guilty of selling petrol that was meant for the fire department vehicles. He was suspended then as well, but managed to get reinstated and rose to higher posts.
When mid-day contacted Kale, at first he disconnected the call after listening to a slew of questions. In the second call, he said, “There are no inquiries against me. Show me documents that state there are any inquiries.”
Eyebrows are being raised in the corridors of the Thane and Mumbai corporations due to the appointment of the controversial official to such a plum post. mid-day tried to contact Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal and deputy municipal commissioner Sandeep Malvi (who handles public relations for the corporation), but neither was available for comment. However, a municipal official said, “The Thane corporation had this post vacant and they approached the state advisory committee for recommendations. Apparently, Kale was appointed to the post on the basis of seniority.”