Defending its decision to not initiate disciplinary proceedings against Sandeep Karnik, the former Superintendent of Police of Pune (Rural) who was among the four officers indicted by a probe panel in the 2011 Maval incident in which three people were killed in police firing, the state government told the Bombay High Court Tuesday that no one was injured by the plastic bullets fired by the officer.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist I G Khandelwal seeking an FIR against Karnik, who was leading the team at Maval. The petitioner has claimed that one woman was “victim to shots fired by Karnik” and that the officer was the first to open fire.
The HC has now asked for relevant documents pertaining to the claim made by the petitioner and also regarding action taken against Karnik.
The matter has been kept for hearing on March 31.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the state government said Karnik had been issued a warning. “After scrutinising the explanation by the officers, the government has decided to issue a warning to Sandeep Karnik, instead of initiating disciplinary proceedings against him for firing two plastic bullets at the mob, which was not justified even though nobody was injured in the firing. The decision was communicated to Karnik on February 16, 2015,” an affidavit submitted by the state government said.
According to the affidavit, the findings of the M G Gaikwad Commission, which indicted four officers, was communicated to the policemen concerned — Karnik, police inspectors Ashok Patil and Yashwant Gawari and assistant police inspector Ganesh Mane. All four were issued a showcause on July 28, 2014, to record their statements after which they submitted written explanations to the government, the affidavit said.
Departmental proceedings have been initiated against the other three officers as they had fired live bullets from their pistol at the mob, it said.
During the last hearing, the court had asked the state government if any proceedings were initiated under disciplinary rules before issuing warning to Karnik.
On August 8, 2011, the police had opened fire on villagers protesting against the government’s decision to lay a closed pipeline to supply water from Pavana dam to Pimpri-Chinchwad. Farmers had claimed they would not get water for their crops if the pipeline was laid. Three protesters were killed in the firing.