//Maharashtra govt body indicts top cop in Dalit killings

Maharashtra govt body indicts top cop in Dalit killings

PTI

Mumbai, Dec 4: In an embarassment to the Maharashtra government, a state institute has accused a top police official of dereliction of duty in the Khairlanji Dalit killings case. A report by the institute described the September 29 killings of four Dalits of a family, including two women, at Khairlanji in Bhandara district as an “organised conspiracy.”

The report was commissioned by the Centre for Equity and Social Justice of Pune-based government agency Yashwantrao Chavan Institute of Development Administration (Yashada). It was prepared under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research & Training Institute.

It says Pankaj Gupta, Special Inspector General of Police at Nagpur, “made a premature and irresponsible public statement that the Khairlanji incident did not involve rape on female victims. It is learnt from the public that Gupta accepted a bribe from the interested elements to make such a statement.”

Describing the report as “preposterous”, Gupta said “Making allegations is easy… I have not seen the report. Whenever the report will come, I will take appropriate action.”

The report said the local BJP MLA was present during the post-mortem of the body of Priyanka, daughter of Mr Bhaiyalal Bhotmange, 4 members of whose family were killed.

Drawing conclusion from discussions with the Bhandara district civil surgeon, the report spoke about a “strong possibility that under political pressure, the civil surgeon instructed fabricating the post-mortem in such a way that crucial evidence, especially on the possibility of rape on victims, is lost.”

The report was submitted to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) last week, Mr Ravindra Chavan, an official of Yashada, told PTI over phone today. Officers guilty of neglect of duty such as the District Collector, Superintendent of Police, Civil Surgeon, Subdivisional Magistrate, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tehsildar, Police Prosecutor, Superintendent and Medical Officer of Rural Hospital at Mohadi town in Bhandara district should be immediately transferred, it said.

“Disciplinary action should be taken against them so as to restore the confidence of people in the administration,” it said. An inquiry should also be initiated against these officers regarding dereliction of duty under the Prevention of Atrocities Act and those found guilty should be made co-accused, the report stated.

The case should be handed over to CBI to avoid local or political interference in the investigation process, the report said. The state government has already handed over the case to CBI.