The big cop-out: Top cop blames citizens for unsolved Dabholkar murder

Feb 27, 2014, 07:53 IST | Salil Urunkar

Commissioner of Police Gulabrao Pol finds it expedient to kick the blame for not being able to crack the anti-superstition crusader’s murder on the public and witnesses; says they gave cops misleading information

Six months after anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead, the city police commissioner, incredibly, passed the buck for not being able to nab the killers on to the public.

Not our fault: Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol. Pic/Mohan Patil

Blaming citizens and witnesses for non-cooperation, Commissioner Gulabrao Pol said that many people provided misleading information during the investigation. “In such complicated crimes, citizens do not cooperate and witnesses don’t come forward,” he stated.

Pol was addressing media persons on the occasion of the annual crime conference, where he talked at length about the city’s crime rate and trends during January-December 2013.

Asked about yet-unsolved murder cases like Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti founder Dr Dabholkar and Pune University’s security guard Prahlad Jogdandkar, Pol gave a litany of excuses to defend his team of officers.

“In the Dabholkar murder case, we are desperately trying to identify and nab the mastermind and key suspects. What we have experienced in such complicated matters is that “concerned people” do not cooperate with investigating officers, and witnesses don’t come forward. In this case, we had received a lot of misleading information, and due to this investigating officers lost a lot of time verifying the inputs.”

When MiD DAY contacted Dr Dabolkar’s son Hamid, he said, “Six months have passed since the murder and the police have not been able to arrest the masterminds. It is a complete failure of the investigative agency. They should not give such excuses. It is their duty to verify each and every bit of information they receive from people. The police should focus on delivering results, and if they’re unable to perform they should tell their seniors about it.”

Big city, more crime Pol went on to blame the merger of 28 villages with the Pune Municipal Corporation and the subsequent extension of the city police’s jurisdiction for the increased crime rate in the city.

“Crime trends increase in proportion with the population. Due to the merger of new villages, the population has increased by 14 lakh, and policing in these areas is a strenuous task considering the number of police personnel sanctioned for bordering police stations like Hinjewadi, Bharti Vidyapeeth, MIDC Bhosari, Hadapsar, Vimantal and Vishrantwadi,” he said.

“The conviction rate in cases at magisterial court level has increased, with conviction percentage reaching a new high of 47.72 per cent in 2013. But at the sessions court level, it is 13 per cent, which has not shown considerable improvement. This is due to witnesses and panch turning hostile in large numbers,” Pol added.

>> Says concerned people didn’t cooperate, witnesses didn’t come forward in case
>> Reasons that crime rate is shooting up because city limits have expanded

A rationalist's murder

Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the bellwether of the anti-black magic bill in the state, was shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants on August 20 last year, when he was out for a morning walk on the Omkareshwar Temple bridge in the city. Four shots were fired at him from close range by the attackers. In January, two persons, Manish Nagori and Vikas Khandelwal, were arrested in connection wioth the case. Police sources suspect they supplied the weapon for the crime, based on the findings of the ballistic report pertaining to the bullets fired at the rationalist and the make of the murder weapon.

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