Sangli cop to 'adopt' child of custodial death victim
Three-year-old's father died after brutal beating, his body was later burnt by cops; girl's mother happy with DySP Sujata Patil's decision
A deputy superintendent of police from Sangli has taken guardianship of the child of a man who died in police custody last month. Aniket Kothale, 26, held in a petty theft case, was brutally beaten to death and his body burnt by six cops. Today, his wife is happy that DySP Sujata Patil will ensure a bright future for her daughter, Pranjal.
Aniket Kothale with wife Sandhya and daughter Pranjal before his custodial death
The child has found a new guardian in Deputy Superintendent of Police Sujata Patil, 50. "Our department can't give Pranjal her father back, but this small step will help her family and her still have faith in our system," said the senior police officer.
Pranjal's mum Sandhya, a Std XII pass, who is still grieving the unexpected death of her husband, has appreciated the sweet gesture, and said she is no longer anxious about her daughter's future. "Sujata madam has been footing my grocery bills. She has also been kind enough to look after my daughter's education expenses," said Sandhya.
Police guilty of murder
Patil, who is currently posted in the Hingoli district, has been with the Maharashtra Police force for 29 years. She was recently promoted as deputy superintendent of police after serving with the Mumbai Police as sub-inspector for 28 years. Patil decided to reach out to the family after six police officers were arrested for Kothale's custodial death.
Kothale, who worked as a salesman in Sangli, was arrested, along with his friend Amol Bhandare, 23, for stealing R2,000 from a Pune techie at knifepoint, on November 6.
Kothale died after he was allegedly beaten up and tortured during custody. The accused policemen, identified as PSI Yuvraj Kamte and constables Anil Laad, Arun Tone, Suraj Mulla, Rahul Shetge and Zakir Patwedar, are said to have taken the body to a secluded spot in Amboli Ghat, around 140 km from the police station and burnt it.
Deepali Kale, deputy superintendent of police, Sangli, who first suspected foul play in the death of the inmate, later suspended the officers. After investigations, the six officers were arrested and charged under various sections of the IPC. They are currently in judicial custody. "Incidents like these hamper citizens' faith in our department," said Patil of the horrifying custodial death. "As I have a daughter too, I was worried about Pranjal's future," she said.
Patil submitted a formal application to Vishwas Nangre-Patil, inspector-general of police, Kolhapur range in which she said that she would accept Pranjal's guardianship, while providing for the girl's education from her own salary.
According to Sandhya, after the incident many political parties approached her, and promised to help her. "But, nobody really came forward. I was concerned that my daughter would now be labelled as a thief's child. It was a difficult time for me," said the 23-year-old homemaker.
A few days after the incident, Patil approached her and assured that she would look after her daughter. "Madam is very sweet. She has been a strong support system for us," said Sandhya.
When contacted, Nangre-Patil, said, "We really appreciate Patil's efforts. We are still investigating the death and are trying to build a strong case against the guilty officers. Ujjwal Nikam has been appointed as special public prosecutor in the case."
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