The Mumbai Police have raised serious objection to six police cooks being moved to Arthur Road Jail illegally by a prison official for 26/11 accused Ajmal Kasab and seven jailors. This,even as the Nagpada Police Hospital and the forces Quick Response Teams (QRTs) have apparently been struggling without a cook.
The irregular transfer of cooks came to light during an internal review of the polices staff deployment and orders were issued by the police top brass on Monday for them to be immediately returned to their original postings.
Sources revealed that the cooks who were assigned duties in jail were also confined for 10 to 15 days at a stretch in the prison.
During the review it was found that three years ago,a head cook and two cooks of the Mumbai Police Jyotiram Satar,Krishna Turaskar and Jagdish Shetty were inexplicably moved to Arthur Road Jail from their postings in Naigaon,Worli and Tardeo. There they were made to prepare food for Kasab as well as seven jailors who were on deputation there, said a senior Mumbai Police officer,who did not wish to be named.
Subsequently,Pandurang Gavde,Amre and Hazare were shifted to the jail for the same purpose. Each time they went into the jail,they were forced to stay there for 10 to 15 days, said the officer.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik on Monday issued orders for the cooks to be returned immediately to their original postings,stating they were illegally moved to Arthur Road Jail to feed Kasab and the jailors by the then jail superintendent Swati Sathe with the knowledge of an additional commissioner of police in the city. The CP also highlighted that the Nagpada Police Hospital and the QRTs were suffering without a single cook.
Despite attempts to reach her,Sathe who is currently posted in Pune was unavailable for comment. Patnaik,too,was unwilling to comment.
The prisons department and the Mumbai Police are separate entities and the jail officer had no authority to shift the police cooks. This should have been done only with the sanction of the Mumbai Police Commissioner, said a senior police officer.
The memo also makes it evident that the Mumbai Police has taken strong exception to the manner in which the cooks were confined to the prison,which amounts to violation of their human rights.
The police have also raised concerns about the cooks interacting with prisoners without necessary sanction from the magistrate concerned.
Inspector General of Police (Prisons) Surender Kumar said,We will discuss the matter with the Mumbai Police and do whatever is required as per procedure. The cooks were taken keeping in mind the security threat to Kasab. We could not allow any outsider to prepare food for him. But the cooks were not illegally confined. There are certain security restrictions that prevent us from allowing a person to enter and leave the jail at short intervals repeatedly.