Mumbai police have issued showcause notices to seven investigating officers of nine cases from Wadala police station after all the documents pertaining to those cases went missing.
Police officials said that the cases were registered between 2011 and 2015 while the officers were working at Wadala police station. These case papers contain documentation and evidence collated by the police for use by the prosecution in trials. The absence of these case papers means that trial proceedings of these cases cannot be completed.
Confirming the development, a senior police officer from Mumbai police said, “Following the incident of Wadala police station, special directions have been issued to other police stations as well to check whether the documents of all the cases which were registered in the past, are in place.”
The investigating officers of the nine cases are — police inspector Sanjay Shinde, assistant police inspector Hindurao Bhilare, Balasaheb Mokal, Jadhav and police sub-inspectors Shakir Patel, Nalini Shinde and Pankaj Satpute.
An officer said that the showcause notices were served to them recently at their respective residences and also at their current workplace, during which it came to light that the investigating officer of a case, Satpute, passed away recently, while another officer has retired from the force.
Police officials said that four of those cases were registered in 2011, one in 2012, three other cases are of 2014 and one case is from 2015. An officer said, “The cases pertain to molestation, kidnapping, assault, theft, house break-in and child labour. While two each of the nine cases were being probed by Shinde and Patel, the rest of the officers were handling one each of which the documents have gone missing.”
The police officials further added that initially in March 2022, it had come to light that documents of 21 cases were missing from Wadala police station. “Everyone had panicked then, but as the premises of the police station was shifted from one place to another nearby location in 2018, we started looking for those documents at our old police station’s premises and after a few months we succeeded in finding the documents of 12 cases. They were found lying behind the cupboards and under the table at the police station,” said a police officer.
Despite searching for over 18 months, as the documents of nine cases are still missing, senior police officials believe that the documents were not submitted by the investigating officers of those cases. “Ideally at the time of transfer, the officers submit the documents of their cases to the police inspector holding crime portfolio at the police station, accordingly make necessary entry and prepare a Summary report. But it appears that they were neither submitted at court nor were handed over to anyone at the police station after they were transferred out due to which foul play is suspected and showcause notices have been issued to them,” said an officer.
In the notices, the investigating officers were told the documents were not submitted by them and that it would help the accused of those cases in getting acquitted which would further cause injustice to the victims. “Before we take any further action against them, we have asked them to come and show us some proof or the Summary report which proves that they have submitted those documents at the police station or court before being transferred out,” said an officer.