Cops hail return of encounter specialist

Jul 29, 2009, 08:26 IST | J Dey

DCP Pradeep Sawant has been assigned to the Anti-Terrorism Squad after reshuffle

DCP Pradeep Sawant has been assigned to the Anti-Terrorism Squad after reshuffle

The mood was upbeat among Mumbai's Crime Branch officers when news broke that their encounter guru, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pradeep Sawant, will now be a part of the elite Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) after the recent reshuffle of appointments.
 
Sawant had been suspended in 2004 for his alleged involvement in the Abdul Karim Telgi fake stamp paper scam.

Back in Business: Pradeep Sawant was suspended in 2004 for allegedly being involved in the fake stamp paper scam.

This is his first posting after he was officially reinstated into the force in April this year.

"It's a good feeling, but I am yet to get the official order," said Sawant.
 
Officers are also optimistic that Sawant's appointment signals the return of other encounter specialists such as Praful Bhosle, Hemant Desai, Ashok Khot and Daya Nayak.

Senior police officials said the government has given Sawant another chance to prove himself. This time, he may have to deal with terrorists rather than the underworld.

A la Sarfarosh

Sawant was behind more than 300 encounters in the city during his stint as deputy commissioner of police (crime) between the years 2000 and 2003.
 
Other officers found many similarities between him and the character Ajay Singh Rathod, which Aamir Khan plays in the 1999 film Sarfarosh.

They felt both spent long hours on the field, were willing to take risks and did not stick to the rulebook when dealing with gangsters. So, they began referring to Sawant as Rathod during operations.

The name stuck and even today, he is often referred to as apna Rathod.

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