Former Pune commissioner of police (CP) Gulabrao Pol on Monday said he is ready for any probe into allegations of a seance allegedly conducted by a team working under him including serving and retired cops for solving the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar.
Pol, at a press conference at Patrakar Sangh here threatened to file a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Outlook magazine that reported it. His lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar was present.
As per a report in the magazine, a team supported by Pol, which included crime branch sleuths and retired cops – ACP Rajendra Abhinkar and Manish Thakur – who allegedly practices as a tantrik, but who denied it, conducted a planchette and “spoke to Dabholkar’s soul” to get clues about the murder of the activist.
State Home Minister R R Patil had directed the police to investigate the allegation and initiate legal action against the persons involved in alleged use of superstitious beliefs in investigation of a crime.
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Pol said he was not aware of any planchette by the investigation team for solving the Dabholkar murder case. “The report in ‘Outlook’ is malicious and defamatory. I have initiated legal procedure against it,” he said.
Pol admitted meeting the Outlook journalist. “He had a meeting with me once in Kolhapur. While replying to his questions, I clearly denied holding any planchette by the investigation team in the Dabholkar case. I told the journalist that by asking such questions he was insulting the departed soul… I found his intentions were not good, so I told him if he gives a wrong report, I would take legal action against him. I do not know whether he has done an audio recording of our conversation. But he has audio records, let him release it. The truth will be known,” he said.
Pol said he asked a few retired police officers of the rank of inspectors and assistant commissioners who worked in Pune to help the team probing the Dabholkar murder case. “ACP Abhinkar was among the retired officers. But I never met retired constable Manish Thakur,” he said.
Suspect Vilas Khandelwal, arrested in the case, told The Indian Express that when he and co-accused Manish Nagori were in custody of Pune police, they were visited by Thakur, who asked their dates of birth and sun signs in presence of police officials. Pol denied it. Meanwhile, when asked about a complaint filed by Dabholkar’s family and Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) demanding a probe into the “planchette report,” Pol said he is open for it. “I have no objections to any probe in the matter,” he said.
Nimbalkar said they issued a legal notice to the journalist who worked on the report and editor in chief of the magazine. Nimbalkar said they would wait for two weeks to see the reply given to the legal notice and then file a civil as well as criminal suit against the journalist and the editor in chief of the magazine.
“The defamation suit will claim Rs 100 crore with expenses of Rs 1 lakh on legal procedures. We want them to publish an apology in newspapers and television media for printing a false report against the former Pune police commissioner, who received many accolades for distinguished and selfless service. The malicious report attracts criminal suit under sections 499 of Indian Penal Code,” said Nimbalkar.