A day after a Thane police inspector posed for a photograph with actor Shilpa Shetty’s businessman husband Raj Kundra, who has been booked in a cheating case, the officer was removed from the case.
Inspector Vijay Deshmukh, from Kongaon police station in Bhiwandi, Thane, who was the investigating officer in the case, found himself in a soup when Kundra uploaded the photograph on his Instagram account Wednesday. What came as further embarrassment for the police was the caption by Kundra, stating that he felt sorry for cops who worked in ‘mediocre surroundings’.
Deshmukh was removed from the case by Thursday evening. Zonal deputy police commissioner Manoj Patil said: “The officer should not have allowed Kundra, an accused in the case, to take a photo with him. We have sought an explanation from and are waiting for his response. Following the incident, Deshmukh has been transferred from the case. The matter will now be probed by some other officer.”
Deshmukh could not be contacted as his phone was out of coverage area.
The incident took place on Wednesday, when Kundra, along with three others named as accused in the case, had gone to Kongaon police station in Bhiwandi. Kundra, Shetty and three others, against whom a cheating case had been registered, had been granted anticipatory bail earlier in the day.
The accused, apart from the actor, were called to the police station for recording statements. The case pertains to a company alleging that Kundra and his associates had not returned Rs 18 lakh they owed the complainant.
It was during his visit to the police station that Kundra got a photograph with Deshmukh and later uploaded it on Instagram. The caption accompanying the photograph read: “Visited a police station in Thane. I honestly feel sorry for the cops who work endless hours in very mediocre surroundings. Government needs to spend more on upgrading their stations for a better working environment for all cops. A picture with Inspector #Deshmukh ji (sic)”.
By Wednesday evening, the photograph had been shared on several platforms. Till Thursday evening, it had been ‘liked’ by 2,071 people and 15 people had commented on it.
A senior officer with the Thane police said: “A police officer, under no circumstances, should be seen taking a photograph with an accused in the case. Kundra had gone there to record his statement in a cheating case. There was no reason to take a photograph with him. Hence, we have sought Deshmukh’s response. Depending on what he says, we will take a call on the future course of action.”
A few hours after the police officer and Kundra came under fire for the photograph, Kundra shared a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi with his quote: “Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologise for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you are right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth”