Two senior officers posted at the Vakola police station had advised senior police inspector Vilas Joshi against sanctioning a firearm for assistant police inspector Dilip Shirke, who shot Joshi on Saturday night and then shot himself.
Shirke, who was due to retire in 17 months, was posthumously booked for murder on Sunday.
“Inquiries have indicated that Shirke had a temper problem and a tendency to object to the tasks given to him… Joshi had assigned him to patrol sensitive areas where there were frequent incidents of snatching. His colleagues had suggested that Shirke should not be issued a weapon,” said an officer.
According to reports, Shirke was also often in trouble with his superiors as he would be missing from the area that he was assigned to patrol. On Saturday, the argument began over a similar issue.
Shirke was on night shift on Friday and was assigned patrol duty at the junction near the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Kalina. However, he was reportedly missing when Joshi conducted a random check, and hence, was marked absent.
“On Saturday, some of his colleagues informed him that he had been marked absent. Shirke reported to work on Saturday night, signed a pistol out of the armoury and checked the station diary. He objected to being marked absent, and the duty officer told him to take up the issue with Joshi,” said another officer.
A constable who met Shirke while he was on his way to Joshi’s cabin said he looked visibly agitated. The constable even asked him what was wrong, to which Shirke replied, “Just the heat.”
At around 8:15 pm, Shirke barged into Joshi’s cabin. Joshi reprimanded him as he was speaking to some other officers. Joshi is reported to have used abusive language during this argument, which lasted for about 10 minutes, at the end of which Shirke exited the cabin and stood outside wordlessly.
Five minutes later, Joshi left the cabin with his orderly Balasaheb Aher. As he stepped towards his vehicle, which was waiting at the entrance, Shirke opened fire, hitting Joshi thrice. One bullet hit a wall, and Aher received a splinter injury. Shirke then turned the gun on himself.
A constable who rushed Joshi to the Leelavati Hospital said the senior police inspector was alert, despite having been shot thrice. “The first thing he told me was to inform the zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police about the incident. He then asked if his injuries were serious. I told him that the wounds were not too deep, and that we would be at the hospital soon,” he said.
Crime Branch officers have identified six to seven police personnel who were present at the station house and interacted with Shirke in the minutes before the violence. Their statements will be recorded on Monday.
“It is a rare incident. While there have been incidents where policemen have shot themselves, this is perhaps the first time that a policeman has killed his superior. We will have to think of ways to get the message across that this is not the right way,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti.
Bharti, however, said inquiries had not pointed to Shirke having a history of bad temper or violence. “He did have some problems with aspects like punctuality and attendance, but nothing to indicate that he could do something like this,” said Bharti.
While some blamed Shirke, many others defended him. “Getting leave was always difficult. Joshi would speak very harshly and even use abusive language, irrespective of who else was listening, if he thought we didn’t deserve the leave… It was very humiliating. Two days ago, a woman constable went to Joshi to ask for leave, and was visibly disturbed when she came out of his cabin. None of us were surprised,” said a constable.