November 29, 2008 12:50:17 pm
A constable, who was in the hijacked Mumbai police vehicle, survived the Wednesday night mayhem to recount the horror of how ATS chief Hemant Karkare and two other top officers of Mumbai police were gunned down inside the Toyota Qualis by a terrorist duo fleeing from CST.
Injured Constable Arun Jadhav was in the vehicle whose tyre burst when the desperadoes had commandeered it in their attempt to flee from police chase.
Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, who were all travelling in the same vehicle, were shot dead along with three constables by the terrorists.
The top officers were on way to Cama Hospital, just a 10-minute drive from CST station, to check on another injured officer Sadanand Date.
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“When we were informed that Sadanand Date has been injured at the firing in Cama Hospital Karkare, Kamte, Salaskar and four constables left from CST to the spot.
“Five minutes later, two persons carrying AK-47 rifles emerged from behind a tree and started firing at out vehicle,” said Jadhav, who was hit by two bullets in his right arm and is recuperating in the Bombay Hospital.
Sitting on his bed on the 14th floor of the hospital, Jadhav, who has been in the police service for the past 12 years, said the exact number of shots fired at the police car was not known, but the three top officers and as many constables were killed on the spot. Jadhav was the only person in the vehicle who survived.
“I have been working with Salaskar my entire police career but I could not do anything to save his life,” he said with tears rolling down his eyes.
While Salaskar was at the wheel, Kamte was in the front seat and Karkare in the second row with the four Constables, including Jadhav, at the back seat.
“The two terrorists then came up to our vehicle and pulled out Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar’s bodies out and threw them on the road. Thinking that we (Constables) are also dead, the terrorists then got into the car and started driving towards Metro junction,” Jadhav said.
They fired three rounds at journalists and police vans standing at Metro junction and then sped away towards Vidhan Bhawan in south Mumbai, where again they fired some rounds.
“The terrorists then started driving from Vidhan Bhawan when the car’s tyre burst. They then got off the car and ran towards another vehicle,” he said.
Jadhav then got in touch with the police control and informed them about the death of Karkare, Kamte, Salaskar and the three Constables.
“Additional Commissioner of Police (ATS) Parambir Singh and other police officers then rushed to the spot and took the bodies to St George hospital,” Jadhav said.
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