BY: MEGHNA YELLURU
DIG Sunil Paraskar, who has been accused of rape by a 26-year-old model, has told the Mumbai Police Crime Branch that he has destroyed both the mobile phones they were seeking as part of investigations. In a letter to the Women’s Cell of the Crime Branch, Paraskar has claimed that he had to destroy the phones as the display screen of one was broken while the other had some “technical default”.
While he had replaced the damaged phones, Paraskar wrote on July 30, he couldn’t sell or give them away as they contained “important information”.
“If he gives away the phone, anyone who can retrieve information from the hardware of a phone would have access to delicate information. We are going to write another letter stating that Paraskar had already destroyed the old phones long before the complaint (of rape) was registered,” Paraskar’s lawyer Rizwan Merchant told The Indian Express. Of the new phones, Merchant said, “Paraskar has already surrendered one, he would surrender another soon”.
On July 31, when a trial court provided Paraskar protection from arrest till August 5, Chief Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan had told the court that the senior IPS officer was not cooperating and had not handed over his mobile phone to police.
The model’s lawyer, Chitra Salunke, had pointed out that she, on the other hand, had surrendered her phone on which “over 200 messages” were exchanged between her and Paraskar.
Paraskar’s letter, addressed to the Assistant Commissioner of Police and Investigation Officer of the Woman’s Cell, acknowledged that he had received a letter seeking his presence in the Crime Branch with two mobile handsets, for which three International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers were provided.
He added: “Whenever I switch over to a new mobile phone or a new model, I do not sell or give it away as these phones normally contain a lot of information about my bank details, passwords, details of family members, relatives, friends and more importantly about my informants… which would get disclosed to unknown persons who may get these mobile phones in resale.”
Paraskar also claimed the IMEI numbers given by the Women’s Cell may be wrong. “I tried to check the IMEI numbers given in your letter on the website imei.info. However, the website says these are invalid IMEI numbers.”
Calling the rape allegations wrong, Paraskar’s lawyer Merchant produced a five-page legal notice sent to him on July 15 by Siddiquee & Associates, who were representing the complainant earlier. Merchant pointed out that the legal notice did not state that the model was raped or molested by Paraskar. The notice alleged that Paraskar had sent “informal e-mails from his e-mail ID, besides sending innumerable text messages” from his phone.
“You (Paraskar) have on various occasions also stooped down to the level of insisting my client… meet you at different coffee shops and various other places,” the notice said.
It also accused Paraskar of extorting money from the model when she visited his office in Kandivali to complain about certain unidentified individuals illegally running an escort service on the Internet, using her name and photographs.
As per the notice, Paraskar instead accused the complainant and her sister of filing a false and frivolous complaint, and accused them of working as escorts.
When contacted, Rizwan Siddiquee of Siddiquee & Associates said, “The model had not briefed me about such allegations (of rape), and therefore there were no grounds to make such allegations in the legal notice.”
On Saturday, the Shiv Sena sparked a controversy by coming to the defence of Paraskar, saying it has become a “fashion in hi-fi societies to create a flutter by crying rape”. “In this case, the rape complaint was filed six months later. Does it take six months to realise that a rape has occurred?” an editorial in Saamna said.