By Ridham Gambhir
Rakesh Maria, the cop credited with investigating the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and getting Ajmal Kasab to confess his crime, has been abruptly transferred from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner to that of the Director General (Home Guards).
It was Maria, a report dated June 24 in Hindustan Times claimed, who held actor Sanjay Dutt by his hair and “toppled him from the chair, leading him to finally confess his association with the underworld elements involved in the 1993 blasts and his possession of an AK-47 assault rifle”.
The enigma surrounding his sudden transfer or, to say, promotion is equivalent to the one surrounding Sheena Bora’s case.
Apparently, Maria is being accused of his discreet interest in Bora’s case which led to a drift between him and Atul Kulkarni, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch. The latter was disgruntled at Maria’s keen interest in the case or rather the usurpation of the case which otherwise would have been in the hands of the crime branch.
Maria is known to have personally interviewed the prime accused at the Khar police station thrice. As an NDTV report said, he was also regularly holding press conferences about the case despite not having given any interview since he was made Mumbai Police chief. It is alleged that Maria is a close friend of Peter Mukerjea.
Such an excessive interest on the part of the commissioner led to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis sanctioning
Maria’s promotion 22 days prior to the scheduled date.”Police have shown a lot of involvement and attention in a case which is in the media spotlight. It should pay similar attention to other cases which do not get media focus,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying to the media.
“There was no hurry in transferring Maria. It would have been inappropriate to transfer him on 30 September, in the middle of the festive season as Ganapati festival, a very important event in Maharashtra would be on at that time. Therefore, we decided to advance the promotion of Maria,” said Additional Secretary Bakshi, who was appointed to inquire into Maria’s excessive interrogation in the Sheena Bora case.
The man who became a role model and whose actions were widely celebrated by Bollywood movies like ‘Black Friday’ and ‘A Wednesday’ is now being despised for taking undue interest in the case.
Maria is an experienced officer who has managed to get many criminals confess their crimes or unravel serious cases. Such a personal admission into a case like Bora’s would have surely put him into a fix. Why then did Maria do so? Was he aware of all this? Or was this a deliberate move?
There are many such questions and it is left to our imagination to treat it the way we like, as this man is now on the wrong side of interrogation table. In this age of content hungry media, Maria is set to be reduced to the trivial red and white boxed breaking news.
The officer has been replaced as Mumbai Police commissioner by senior IPS officer Javed Ahmed, who took charge on Tuesday.