DCP, ACP, 5 police personnel suspended for attending Don's party

DCP, ACP, 5 police personnel suspended for attending Don's party

Mumbai police Commissioner D Sivanandan on Saturday recommended suspension of five police personnel, including two IPS officers, a day after Maharashtra government ordered an inquiry into allegations that they attended a Christmas-eve party thrown by the Chota Rajan gang.

Those whose suspension has been recommended include DCP V N Salve and ACP Prakash Wani, head of Chembur police station, Senior Police Inspector R.S. Khakale, Crime Branch Inspector Praful Phadke and Crime Branch Assistant Sub-Inspector T. Salunkhe for attending the bash.

Video-clips of the party, telecast by a Mumbai TV channel Friday evening, showed the policmen celebrating in gay abandon with the criminals even as a huge contingent of cops maintained law and order all over the city on the night of Dec 24-25.
"Police have gathered sufficient evidence in the matter to recommend suspension of these policemen," a crime branch officer said on condition of anonymity.

"I have recommended to the state government to initiate disciplinary action against the five policemen and suspend them pending inquiry," Sivanandan said.

He said there were "CCTV footages and photographs which may prove" that the officials were present at the party held at a private gymkhana in suburban Chembur.
The party was reportedly organised to celebrate the release of some top-ranking members of the gang. Among them were dreaded D K Rao, who was released from jail after 13 years of imprisonment, Farid Tanasha and Sunil Poddar.

Others whose suspension has been recommended are -- senior police inspector Tulsidas Khakkad, a police inspector of anti-extortion cell and a constable from Chembur police station.

Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil had Friday ordered an inquiry into the allegations of officers including Salve and Wani having attended the bash after photographs and grainy video footage purportedly showing them were aired on TV channels.

Meanwhile, Wani vehemently denied the accusation, claiming the video clippings and photographs were doctored.

"This is a conspiracy against me. I am a member of the gymkhana and had gone there with my wife for dinner and not to party with any gang members," he said.

The party was reportedly thrown by Paulson Joseph, a close aide of Chota Rajan, who is said to be looking after the underworld don's business interests in Mumbai's suburbs.
Sources at the gymkhana said Joseph was a member of the upmarket club, which charges a membership fee of Rs five lakh, and used to go there regularly to play cards and party. Speaking strictly on condition of anonymity, they said that a member could bring along any number of guests after paying Rs 30 for each of them.

"So many people visit the club on the Christmas-eve and it is not possible to ascertain the identity of each one of them," they said when asked if they had spotted any police officer at Joseph's bash.

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