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Home Minister's statement on death of Hemant Karkare
The text of Statement of Home Minister on the circumstances leading to the death of Shri Hemant Karkare and other officers of the Mumbai Police, placed in both Houses of Parliament
NEW DELHI: Recently, some questions have been raised about the circumstances in whichthree police officers including Shri Hemant Karkare, head of the ATS,Mumbai, were killed while traveling in one car on Rang Bhawan Lane, NearCama Hospital on November 26, 2008.
I have ascertained the facts from the Government of Maharashtra.At the outset, I wish to say that there are at least three eye witnesses tothe incident, one of them being Mohammed Ajmal Amir who was apprehendedshortly after the incident and is now in the custody of the police. Theother two eye witnesses are Shri Arun Jadhav, a police Naik who was in theQualis vehicle when the incident occurred, and Shri Maruti Mahavrao Phad,the driver of a Government Vehicle provided for the use of the PrincipalSecretary (Health), Government of Maharashtra.
Based on the accounts given by these three eye witnesses and the accounts ofother witnesses, the Mumbai Police have been able to reconstruct thesequence of events. Briefly, the following is the sequence.
Shri Karkare reached his residence at Dadar at about 21:45 hrs. Shortlythereafter, on receiving information over telephone from Shri Tondwalkar,Inspector-in-charge of the Control Room, he alerted his staff to be preparedto rush to the CST Railway Station. Within minutes, he and his team (one PSIand four Constables) took a Bolero jeep and rushed towards the CST. Beforethey reached the CST, they found that the road had been blocked due to anakabandi. Hence, Shri Karkare and his team walked from that point to theCST. He was met by Shri K.P. Raghuvanshi, Additional DGP, Railways and otherofficers. They informed Shri Karkare that two terrorists, after openingindiscriminate fire inside the Railway Station, had fled towards a lane(called Anjuman Lane) between the Times of India building and Anjuman IslamHigh School. Immediately, Shri Karkare put on his bullet proof jacket andhelmet and along with his team rushed in the direction in which theterrorists had fled. Shri Karkare and his team reached the rear gate of CamaHospital. They heard the noise of exchange of fire as well as blast ofgrenades. They took cover position behind the rear gate.
Shortly thereafter, Shri Ashok Kamte, Additional CP, Mumbai, reached therear gate of Cama Hospital. Earlier, Shri Kamte had reached his residence atabout 22:00 hrs. Within five minutes, on receiving information from theControl Room of the East Region, he instructed his wireless operator anddriver to get ready to leave and he left within the next ten minutes. Hetook the road inside the Bombay Port Trust. When he reached Azad MaidanPolice Club, he was told that he could not take the car to the rear gate ofCama Hospital. Hence, he got down from his car, directed his driver to waitin the car and, along with his wireless operator, walked to the rear gate ofCama Hospital.
Shri Vijay Salaskar, Police Inspector, Anti Extortion Squad, Crime Branchalso reached the rear gate of Cama Hospital. Earlier, he had reached home atabout 21:30 hrs and relieved his driver, staff and car. However, at about21:50 hrs, on receiving information on his mobile from the AdditionalCommissioner, Crime Branch, he left his residence driving his private Qualisvehicle. En route, after alerting Shri Arun Jadhav, his Police Naik, overtelephone, he fetched Shri Nitin Alaknure, Police Inspector, and both drovetowards Colaba Police Station via Haji Ali and Napean Sea Road. At ColabaPolice Station, Arun Jadhav, the Police Naik, joined him. Shri Salaskar wasinstructed through mobile phone by Shri Rakesh Maria, Joint CP (Crime) torush to Mumbai Police Headquarters. While driving to the Headquarters, ShriSalaskar spotted two armed police men standing alert at the gate of AzadMaidan Police Station. They informed Shri Salaskar about the shootout nearCama Hospital. Hence, Shri Salaskar rushed to the rear gate of Cama Hospitalwith his team.
From the facts narrated above, it would be seen that the three officers,Shri Karkare, Shri Kamte and Shri Salaskar, converged at the rear gate ofCama Hospital through independent routes. While the three were discussingthe situation amongst themselves, Shri Telekar, the wireless operatorattached to Shri Sadanand Date, additional CP came out of the Cama Hospitalwith injuries and informed them that Shri Sadanand Date had been injured inan exchange of gunfire with the terrorists inside the Cama Hospitalpremises. There was some firing from the terrace of the Cama Hospital but,suddenly, there was silence. This was followed by the sound of firing fromthe direction of St. Xavier’s College. Shri Karkare directed his team totake position at the same spot and, accompanied by Shri Kamte and ShriSalaskar, got into the police jeep, a Qualis vehicle, belonging to the ACP,Pydhonie Division and drove in the direction of St. Xavier’s College. ShriSalaskar was at the wheel, Shri Kamte sat on the left side of the frontseat, Shri Karkare was in the middle seat, and four others, including ShriArun Jadhav, sat on the rear seat.
Shri Arun Jadhav, the surviving policeman, has started that the Qualis waspassing the ATM Centre of a Bank located on Rang Bhawan Lane, of BadruddinTayyabji Marg, when two terrorists opened indiscriminate fire from behindthe bushes on the other side of the lane. One of the occupants of the Qualisvehicle returned the fire which caused injuries to the hand of one of theterrorists (later identified as Mohammed Ajmal Amir). Shri Karkare, ShriKamte, Shri Salaskar and three others were gravely injured. The twoterrorists pulled out the three injured officers from the front and middleseats and hijacked the Qualis vehicle along with the four men whom theterrorists believed were dead. Shri Arun Jadhav was covered by the bodies ofhis three colleagues, who were killed, and thus remained undetected. TheQualis vehicle was abandoned at Free Press Journal Marg and the twoterrorists hijacked a Skoda car. At this point, Shri Arun Jadhav got out ofvehicle and reported the incident to the control room using the wireless setin the Qualis vehicle. The control room received the report at 00:25 hrs,that is shortly after midnight of 26th/27th November 2008.
Shri Arun Jhadhav has accounted for the events between the time when hejoined Shri Salaskar at Colaba Police Station and the time he made thereport to the control room. The apprehended terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amirhas corroborated the portion of the story where he and his companion openedfire on a Qualis vehicle, believed that all the occupants had been killed,and hijacked the vehicle. Shri Maruti Mahdavrao Phad, driver of the officialvehicle provided to the Principal Secretary (Health), Government ofMaharashtra had witnessed the incident from a close distance. He is awitness to the movements of the two terrorists who took cover behind somebushes and fired on the Qualis vehicle, pulled out three injured men andeventually hijacked the vehicle.
The crime branch of Mumbai police is investigating the offences, includingthe offences suspected to be committed by Mohammed Ajmal Amir and hiscompanion, since identified as Ismail Khan. The investigators havereconstructed the sequence of events by talking to a number of peopleincluding police officers and policemen who were present at differentlocations. The investigators have reached the conclusion that Shri Karkaretook the most convenient route from his residence at Dadar (East) to the CSTRailway Station and, after conferring with the police officers at theRailway Station, decided to proceed to Cama Hospital. It is at the rear gateof Cama Hospital that he was joined by Shri Kamte and Shri Salaskar. Thesequence of events after the three officers and four men boarded the Qualisvehicle at the rear gate of Cama Hospital and until they were fired uponnear the ATM Centre of a Bank on Rang Bhawan Lane have been reconstructed onthe basis of the eye witness accounts of Shri Arun Jadhav and Shri MarutiMadhavrao Phad.
The investigators have reached the conclusion that there is no truthwhatsoever in the suspicion that there was a conspiracy to eliminate ShriKarkare or others. There is also no truth in the different versions thathave been circulated about the movement of Shri Karkare on that fateful day.Shri Karkare appears to have acted, after conferring with his colleagues,with speed and purpose in response to a crisis situation. While it is indeedunfortunate that three brave officers and their men boarded one Qualisvehicle, the circumstances in which they came under fire and were killedwere tragically fortuitous.
In the days before his death, questions were raised about the genuineness ofthe investigations that were being conducted by Shri Karkare in theterrorist case. After his death, questions are being raised about thecircumstances in which he was killed. In my view, both are wrong and deeplyregrettable.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to end this statement with an appeal to allHonourable Members and my fellow citizens. This is the time to salute thededication and bravery of the police officers and their men. This is thetime to help their families, especially their children, to cope with thetragedy. This is the time for the whole country to stand united and carry ona determined fight against terror.
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