Pune, Feb 6 (IANS) Signalling the resolve to crack down on growing incidents of crime in Pune, newly-appointed Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar on Tuesday resorted to an unprecedented “black parade of goons” to restore peoples’ faith in the law-enforcers.
Cracking down on crime and those who perpetrate it, Kumar summoned more than 200 notorious gangsters or mafiosi on police records to report to his office for first-hand information of their antecedents and activities, with the Lok Sabha elections round the corner.
Many of the dreaded goons who marched to the Commissionerate office are reputed to flaunt political connections, including the likes of Gajanan Marne, Nilesh Ghaiwal, Baba Bodke, bigwigs of the Andekar gang, Mohol gang and other known police history-sheeters.
Ghaiwal shot to prominence for recently meeting Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his photos have gone viral on social media, prompting sharp attacks from the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
Last fortnight, Parth A. Pawar, the son of Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, had dropped in to meet Marne, sparking a political uproar, and ultimately Papa Pawar had to own up the blame for son’s indiscretion.
On January 5, dreaded mafia don, Sharad Mohol was shot in a public spot outside his home, igniting apprehensions of a possible big gang-war erupting in the city.
A majority of those who joined the parade have various big and small crimes lodged against them ranging from kidnapping to extortion to dacoity to murder attempts, rape and murders, Waiting to “welcome” the baddies was Kumar, along with a posse of police personnel in what was seen as an attempt to reassure the people that the law-enforcers were seriously going about their prime duty – enforcing the law.
An IPS officer of 1995 batch, Kumar, who took over as Pune top cop on Feb. 1, was earlier the Commissioner of Nagpur, the state’s second capital, where he meticulously ensured that the underworld remained, well underground, or behind bars.
According to officials, over 200 of the notorious underworld figures emerged into the public and police spotlight, with the media present to click the goons’ “black parade”, and were made to cool their heels in the blazing sun for several hours before they were allowed to go.
In a bid to keep tabs on them, the mafiosi have been asked to report daily to the nearest police stations and give their daily time-table of activities to the police.
Since the past two days, MVA leaders like Congress state President Nana Patole and the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar, and Shiv Sena-UBT MP Sanjay Raut, among others have accused the MahaYuti government of hobnobbing with and “hiring” gangsters ahead of the parliament polls.
The new police chief’s move was lauded in various quarters and seemed to instill confidence among the people who have been terrorised by crime and criminals in what is the state’s cultural, academic and IT capital.
On Monday, Kumar cracked down on various clubs and pubs that flouted rules and remained open beyond the stipulated hours, some till as late as 4 am, and he ordered that they must down shutters at 1.30 a.m. and has many more aces up his khaki sleeve.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)