Ever since police officer Sunil Paraskar was booked for rape, the debate in Mumbai has gone beyond misdemeanours by policemen. Former police officers and women activists have questioned the way police have been handling the case, while the Shiv Sena has thrown its weight behind the officer.
Paraskar continues to serve as DIG (protection of civil rights) after being booked by Malwani police for rape and molestation on July 23. A model has alleged that he had sexually exploited her since November last year. The probe is now being headed by an assistant commissioner with the Mumbai crime branch’s cell for crimes against women.
On Monday, Susiben Shah, chairperson of the State Women’s Commission, wrote to commissioner of police Rakesh Maria, asking that Paraskar either step down or be suspended until the probe is complete.
The same concern has been raised by Julio Ribeiro, a retired Mumbai Police commissioner. “I am surprised that Paraskar is still serving,” said Ribeiro. “In the old days, no one would have dared do something like this. These days, everyone has some political backing or the other, which lets them get away with anything… Now, the suspension has to be referred to Mantralaya, and it is exactly these kinds of reforms that we have been fighting…”
On November 17, 2010, after the Powai police had registered a rape case against senior inspector Arun Borude of the LT Marg police following the rape of a minor, the officer was dismissed by then Maharashtra DGP D Sivanandan, who used his discretionary powers. This was after deputy CM Ajit Pawar had pulled up the commissioner of police for not taking immediate action against Borude.
In the current case, Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal said suspension is mandatory only if a police officer is arrested. “Paraskar has been on leave since July 24. If he does get arrested, he will be suspended,” he said.
Paraskar has filed an anticipatory bail application, which the crime branch has opposed. His counsel denied the allegations Tuesday.
“The other day, the Shiv Sena spoke out in Paraskar’s favour,” said Ribeiro. “Since when do political parties make these decisions?”
Last week, an editorial in Saamna, the Sena mouthpiece, questioned the model’s background. “After having amicable relations for so long, how did the rape happen suddenly?… The rape complaint was filed six months later. Does it take six months to realise a rape has taken place? Cases of charging men with molestation and rape in high-end societies to create a sensation… have almost become a fashion. After he has served for so many years, one model charges DIG Sunil Paraskar with rape and in one night he becomes a villain. Such accusations have become a good weapon to seek personal revenge,” the editorial read.
Ribeiro said that even if investigations should confirm that no continued…