Malvani raids: Moral policing probe hits a hurdlehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/malvani-raids-moral-policing-probe-hits-a-hurdle/

Malvani raids: Moral policing probe hits a hurdle

Police fail to get statements of couples booked for ‘indecent behaviour’ as most of them did not furnish original addresses and contact numbers.

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The Mumbai Police had booked 13 couples for alleged indecent behaviour last week after knocking on hotel rooms and carting them away to Malvani police station.

The inquiry into the Mumbai Police moral policing episode has hit a hurdle, with the police machinery claiming inability to trace at least 10 of the 13 couples booked for alleged indecent behaviour. While most had not furnished original addresses or contact information, the others were reluctant to give their statements.

The probe had been ordered to look into alleged procedural lapses in Malvani during the raids, and to account for any wrong treatment meted out to the couples. The police machinery says there is no witness accounts or grievance reports from the couples. The statements of police officers related to the raid have been recorded.

On August 6, police had raided four beach lodges across Madh Marve, allegedly pulled out couples from rooms and booked them for indecent behaviour.

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During the drive, the police had registered 54 cases under the Maharashtra (Bombay) Police Act and the 13 couples were specifically booked for indecent behaviour. It had led to widespread criticism of the police and a probe was ordered.

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Senior police officers told The Indian Express that most couples had furnished fake contact details and a few whose contact information were genuine were avoiding them, making frivolous excuses.

“During the probe, we found that the contact details shared by most couples who were wrongly booked were incorrect. We are still trying to get the right details through the ID proof they shared with the motel. In a few cases, where the contact details are correct, the victims are giving lame excuses to come and record their statements,” a senior police officer said.

“Without the version of the main stakeholders, the inquiry would not be deemed fair and therefore we are trying to reach out to them,” added the officer.

Additional Commissioner of Police (North) Fateh Singh Patil was probing the matter and was expected to submit the report by Monday. Sources said they might receive an interim report but a detailed report might take some time.
DCP Vikram Deshmane, who is also being probed by Patil has recorded his statement. Sources said Deshmane has claimed that he proceeded on leave immediately after ordering the raid and was not aware of the illegal detentions or the fines imposed on the 13 couples.

“Deshmane claimed that on the eve of the raid, he attended a meeting chaired by the Commissioner of Police pertaining to police hospitals and had proceeded on leave immediately after the meeting. He had given instructions over phone to carry out the raid but did not follow it up with the officers on the arrests and detentions,” sources said. Senior police inspector, Malvani police station, Milind Khetle, who is also being probed claimed he had nothing to do with the raid as it was carried out by officers of the local DCP squad that reports directly to the DCP.