Mumbai,Kanchan Srivastava(dna): Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds charge of the home ministry, often faces ire of opposition parties who call Fadnavis inefficient in handling the crucial department.
Now a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, Sanjay Kelkar, has launched an open attack against the Mumbai Police. Kelkar's attack could give ammunition to the opposition Congress and NCP which have been demanding that Fadnavis quit as home minister because of the "poor" law and order situation in the state.
In a letter written to the CM on May 2, which is in dna's possession, Kelkar alleges that the Mumbai police take "supari" from powerful people and harass those who fight against the wrongdoings of the powerful. He also termed Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria a "failure" for being "unable" to keep his men under control.
"On the one hand the police officers and constables are committing rapes inside the police station. And on the other hand, they are filing false cases against an upright professor for raising his voice against the wrongdoings of some educational institutes....Some education barons have given supari to Dharavi and Wadala police stations, leading to false charges against professor Vaibhav Narawade associated with the Citizens Forum for Sanctity in Educational System. Narawade had exposed their ill-doings in the court, leading to closure of at least 29 colleges," reads the letter.
Kelkar in his letter claims that the professor is being harassed by both the police stations despite the fact that cases against him were quashed long ago. Kelkar has demanded that the cases against Narawade must be withdrawn in order to safeguard the whistle-blower. "All these things are happening while Rakesh Maria is the police commissioner, which is a serious matter... Maria has no control over the police force," says the letter, targeting the city police chief directly.
Citizens Forum for Sanctity in Educational System (CFSES) has filed petitions in the Bombay high court, accusing 15 educational institutions which run as many as 29 colleges for flouting various norms laid down by the state. Kelkar is the convener of the Forum.
Wadala TT and Dharavi police stations had two FIRs registered against Narawade. While Wadala police charged him with cheating and forgery, after receiving complaints by Vasant Dada Patil Engineering College where Narawade worked in the past, Dharavi cops charged him with assault and intimidation of employees of the same college and a few unknown persons.
Both the cases against Narawade were registered a year ago, when the Congress-NCP government was in power. Kelkar claimed the cases were spurious, but were being taken up once again to intimidate Narawade.
"I know that the CM handles the home portfolio. That's why I have written to him," Kelkar told dna.
Narawade also claimed innocence and alleged that police were harassing him as they were hand in glove with the cartel of college managements. "I had met Dhananjay Kamlakar in June last year. He had then directed the two DCPs of zone 4 and 5 to drop the cases filed against me. Nothing happened in the past 10 months. But since we have again appealed to the court against the erring colleges, seeking cancellation of their admission rights, both the police stations have been calling me day and night, asking me to submit my photo for the preparation of a charge sheet against me."
He also claimed that Fadnavis and Vinod Tawde, who were in the opposition last year, had extended all support to him in his fight against corruption in education. "Now Fadnavis is CM and Tawde is education minister. I am being harassed as before. If the government can't support a whistle-blower, it should ban social work so that I and other social activists will stop fighting against the mafia," rues Narawade.
SS Garud, senior police inspector of Wadala TT police station, said, "We have received the letter from the MLA. But the investigation in Prof Narawade's case is on. Charge sheet can be filed once it is complete."
Jairam More, senior PI of Dharavi police station said, "I have no knowledge of Narawade's case. It might be an old one."
At the time of going to press, responses from Dhananjay Kamlakar, spokesperson of Mumbai police, and CM Fadnavis, were awaited.