A SUSPENDED assistant commissioner of police (ACP), Shivaji Naravane, arrested in October 2013 on charges of murdering his stepson, gave his escort team the slip and escaped from the premises of the sessions court in South Mumbai Thursday evening.
According to the police, Navarane fled after his bail application was rejected by the court. Multiple Mumbai Police teams were trying to track him down till late Thursday night.
“The accused was lodged in Thane prison and escorted by Thane police personnel. He gave his escort the slip and escaped from the court premises,” said Manoj Kumar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone I.
The Colaba police have booked Naravane for resisting or obstructing lawful apprehension and have begun a search.
According to an officer, Naravane and his second wife Nanda were arrested by the Tilak Nagar police in October 2013.
“On Thursday, around noon, he was brought to Courtroom No. 37 presided by Sessions Judge D A Dholakia where his trial in the murder case is going on. The nodal officer of a telecom company, which provided call data records of the accused, deposed in court as a prosecution witness in the first half. Naravane was present then. During the second half, the court rejected a bail application filed by him. Soon after the bail application was rejected, Naravane fled from the court,” said a senior officer.
A senior police officer said Naravane was escorted to court by personnel from the Thane Police Local Arms Division. While being led back to the police van in the evening, Naravane allegedly told the two policemen that he had to go to the post office on the ground floor of the court building. The officer added that as the policemen allowed Naravane to enter the post office alone, he blended into the crowd there and left the premises.
“We will record the statement of the Local Arms officials who were responsible to bring him to court. We are also checking the CCTV footage of the areas around the court to find out in which direction he went after fleeing from the court premises in South Mumbai,” the officer added.
“Since he has been a police officer, we expect it will be difficult to track him down as he would be well aware of the techniques we use to track down absconders,” said another officer.
On October 24, 2013, Rohan Zodage (26) had been found with his throat slit at his Tilak Nagar residence. A few days later, Naravane, who was posted as an ACP in the protection and security wing of the Mumbai Police, and his second wife Nanda (48) were arrested for the murder of his stepson. Rohan was Nanda’s son from her previous marriage.
According to the investigating officers, Naravane had claimed that he murdered Rohan after the latter misbehaved with Nanda and used foul language.
Nanda’s former husband had then said there were regular fights between the mother and the son over Rohan’s demand for money to start a business. The police also suspected there was a property dispute behind the murder.
Naravane, who was earlier posted as a senior police inspector at Tilak Nagar police station, had married Nanda in 2009 at a temple in Ratnagiri while he was posted there, after divorcing his first wife.