Kamte's wife seeks probe into police lapses

Kamte's wife seeks probe into police lapses

Vinita Kamte. PTI

For too long, the killings were shrouded in mystery, information was sketchy and there were demands for a probe into the incident. But Vinita, fighting all odds and using the RTI  route, has obtained police call records which covered the exchange of communication between the three officers and the main control room.

According to her book ‘To the last bullet’, at 11.24 pm on November 26, Karkare told the Main Control, then manned by Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria, that “we are at Cama Hospital. Firing and grenade blasts are going on.... We need to encircle Cama hospital. We are near SB 2 (in lane) ... Send a team from the front side of Cama Hospital...”

At 11.28 pm, Karkare again told the Main Control: “ATS QRT (Quick Response Team) is here and so is Crime Branch team here from the SB 2 side. Therefore, we need a team from the front side. We need to encircle Cama and surround it....”

The Main Control noted the instructions, but no reinforcements arrived at Cama hospital till 12.49 am, that is, for over an hour, the book says.

At around 12.04 am, the Main Control received a message that “there is sound of firing near SB office near Gate no. 6.” It was the moment when the three officers and three cops inside the police jeep were ambushed by Ajmal Kasab and his accomplice Ismail Khan.

The duo pulled out the three officers and threw them on the street. They then hijacked the jeep and went towards Vidhan Bhavan, firing on the crowd at the Metro cinema. Then again, at 12.13 am, a police jeep which passed through the Rang Bhavan lane informed the Control Room that three cops were lying injured and needed help.

At 12.25 am, Arun Jadhav, the only surviving constable in the jeep, contacted the control room and told them about the incident. It was only at 12.49 am that a police escort reached the spot and the injured officers were taken to hospital on stretchers. Salaskar was still breathing, but he died, while Karkare and Kamte were declared dead on admission to Bombay Hospital.

The book says the three officers were lying without any help for more than 40 minutes and could have been saved if they were rushed to hospital on time.
The book is highly critical of the way Maria handled the situation. At once place, Vinita alleged that Maria did not know what was going on at Cama and even feigned ignorance or outright lied to his boss, the then Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor, that he did not know the location of Karkare and Kamte.

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