Rakesh Maria’s ouster
Vinita Kamte, the widow of Ashok Kamte former Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police, slain along with Joint Commissioner (ATS), Mumbai, Hemant Karkare, and Inspector Vijay Salaskar by Ajmal Qassab and his fellow Pakistani terrorist on the night of November 26, 2008, might not be celebrating the day but she surely would be feeling vindicated today by the way Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria was lifted from the straps of his galleys and thrown out.
For years, Vinita, a lawyer by profession whose husband, one of the three heroes of 26/11, kept pursuing the surreptitious role of the Control Room in charge that day, Rakesh Maria who willfully and deliberately delayed sending reinforcements to arm the three officers Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar who bravely ventured out to confront the Pakistani terrorists, even though the conscientious officers kept reminding the Control Room of the urgency to surround Cama Hospital near V T Station to nab the two Pakistani terrorists alive within the hospital premises.
Minutes later all three were felled down by Qassab in an encounter and bled to death on Bombay streets while the Police wasted precious time even after it got news and saw the trio lying on the road bleeding. The main conspirator behind the scheme to let the trio die, was none other than Rakesh Maria. Vinita Kamte wrote about it but none took notice. Since 1993 bomb blasts, the spotlight of all heroic acts of fighting terror focused time and again exclusively on Maria alone and perhaps it was envy which got the better of him whereby he allowed the Pakistani terrorists to kill three of his fellow officers. Maria has successfully got convicted people with lesser involvement for complicity in an act of terror. The then Mumbai Police Commissioner Abdul Ghafoor paid for Maria’s misdemeanor because post 26/11 Ghafoor was shifted out and Maria was commended, thanks to a biased internal probe by former Home Secretary R D Pradhan.
Ironically Maria has not been kicked out for committing a heroic act or fighting terror. His detractor and his predecessor in office Satypal Singh, currently the BJP MP from Baghpat has insinuated that Maria was mixed up with Peter Mukherjee and therefore his investigations in the Sheena Bora case were prejudiced and aimed at letting Indrani and Peter Mukherjee off the hook in this sensational murder case. There is little reason to believe Singh, for he is cut up with Maria for exposing his secret links to the thriving prostitution racket of Bombay by running a brothel in his flat, which the Mumbai Police exposed within six months of Singh demitting the Commissioner’s office. It was a crime which would not have gone unpunished but for the man becoming a BJP MP. Singh therefore nurses a grudge against Maria and his insinuations against Maria cut no ice.
But it is obvious that Maria’s ouster, the darling of the Bombay TV channels, had something to do with the Sheena Bora case. It is also rather strange that despite being the Police Commissioner, largely an administrative post, Maria chose to conduct the probe personally and given to insatiate appetite for publicity, he held daily briefings and thus kept alive the story. Initially it helped the party in power in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the BJP and its equally media savvy Prime Minister Narendra Modi to divert the people’s attention from the Gujarat spectacle under Hardik Patel. Therefore even when officer Kulkarni in whose jurisdiction the case fell, objected chief minister Devendra Phadnavis looked the other side.
But it now transpires that Maria had started exceeding his brief and looking at the economic and financial side of News X. Now it is common knowledge that Peter Mukherjee headed the Star channel before joining News X. There he launched the TV career of our very own Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani in the famous Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thhi serial.
It is also common knowledge now that the channel with Vir Sanghvi as its media head was launched with monetary support of Mukeshbhai Ambani. But what is not known so widely is that the first office of News X opened in a builder’s top floor flat in Kailash Colony, New Delhi right behind Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley’s house. The flat was owned by none other than Jaitley. So once Maria started peering into the financial dealings of the Mukherjee’s he landed up a treasure trove and others too got a scent of it and that was his undoing. Now it is not clear if he was nose led half way into this to embarrass Mukeshbhai whose current equation with the Prime Minister is a subject of intense speculation in media circles or did Mukeshbhai through his numerous minions in this Government got Maria shifted out because he was becoming too big for his boots.
But the best part is that when he was targeting poor Musalmans, mostly on drummed up terror charges, the same BJP and its propagandists were hailing Rakesh Maria. But the day he made just a feeble attempt to turn his head around and peer through another window, the peeping tom was kicked in the butt.