Why was Maval killer cop let off lightly, asks High Court

Pune,Urvi Mahajani: The court’s upbraiding came while a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and A P Bhangale was hearing a PIL plea filed by activist IG Khandelwal. The plea seeking action against the police officers, including the then superintendent of police (Pune rural) Sandeep Karnik, for opening fire at the mob, killing three persons.


File photo of the incident
Put off by the state government ‘s haphazard manner in probing the Maval firing episode, the Bombay high court has asked the state to explain why it did not consider the findings of the post-mortem report and the chemical analysis report of the bullet retrieved from the body of a woman killed in the incident at Maval near Pune in 2011.

Although these reports were available, the state did not consider them while conducting a departmental inquiry against four police officials who are said to have opened fire at a crowd of protesting villagers.

The court’s upbraiding came while a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and A P Bhangale was hearing a PIL plea filed by activist IG Khandelwal. The plea seeking action against the police officers, including the then superintendent of police (Pune rural) Sandeep Karnik, for opening fire at the mob, killing three persons.

The government has claimed that Karnik had fired two live bullets in the air to disperse the crowd; later, plastic bullets were fired. Khandelwal has alleged that it was Karnik’s live bullet that killed the woman.
The government submitted the autopsy and chemical analysis reports to the court on Thursday, following an earlier court order.

After going through the reports, the HC questioned the government whether these reports were considered while conducting departmental inquiry against the policemen. Justice Oka asked, “If the (Gaikwad) committee did not look into all this, is it not the state government’s duty to do so?”

The HC has given the state a week’s time to furnish its justification as to why the reports were not considered.

During the last hearing, the court had called for the post-mortem and chemical analysis reports of the slain woman, the M G Gaikwad Committee report along with the annexures, as well as the original report after the disciplinary inquiry against the errant police officers to verify the petitioners’ claims.

The government had earlier informed the court that it had sought explanation from the four officers, and after perusal of their replies, issued a warning to Karnik, and initiated disciplinary proceedings against the other three – inspectors Ashok Patil and Yashwant Gawari and assistant inspector Ganesh Mane.

What happened at Maval
On August 8, 2011, the Pune rural police had opened fire on villagers protesting against the government’s decision to lay a closed pipeline to supply water from Pavna dam to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. Agriculturists claimed that they would not get water for their crops if the closed pipeline was laid.