| Namdev being taken to court. (Reuters file picture)
Mumbai, June 2: Rajnarayan Namdev risks losing more than his 15 minutes of fame.
He may now lose the halo of being an impulsive do-gooder with a misplaced sense of righteousness.
Police investigating the Sahar airport shootout of May 24, in which the Central Industrial Security Force constable pumped nine bullets into his senior officer, have unearthed evidence that Namdev planned the murder in advance.
Not only does the evidence punch holes in Namdev’s story that he committed the murder — he will not term it a “crime” — in a fit of rage, it suggests that the constable was preparing for a massacre, not just a pre-meditated murder.
Two days before the 22-year-old constable killed deputy commandant A.R. Karandikar and held six of his colleagues hostage in an airport hold, he had dashed off letters to three TV channels alerting them to a “big massacre that may involve passengers at the airport’.’
In the letter, the contents of which were today confirmed by deputy commissioner of police, Zone X, Bipin Bihari, Namdev says: “Jald hi aisi ghatna ghatne wali hain jo antarrashtriya sthar tak pahunch jayegi. Yeh hundred per cent sachchai hain jisme airport ke sath sath masoom public ko bhi shayad bhugatna pad jaye. Is liye aap se meri request hain ki ise jald se jald janta tak pahuncha kar out kare, varna ek bahut bada hadsa hone se koi nahin rok sakta jo ki CISF ka hi koi admi karega (There will soon be an incident that will grab international headlines. This is 100 per cent true. The airport will have to bear the brunt but innocent passengers, too, may get caught up. It is my request that you take this incident, which will be committed by a CISF jawan, seriously).’’
Namdev must have been very angry with Karandikar because he says in the letter that the deputy commandant and another officer called Zafarullah “do not grant anybody leave”.
The letter continues: “When we go to them asking for some leave they drive us away swearing at us. They are running the show at the airport in an arbitrary and despotic manner.’’
Bihari said police obtained the letter two days before the incident, but had waited to get hold of the original, which TV channels may have discarded thinking it to be a hoax.
“The letter throws light on his intentions — there is nothing to read between the lines,’’ the DCP said. He added that it was now clear that Namdev did not — as he has claimed during interrogation — think of killing Karandikar just 15 minutes before the shootout.
But if the letter shoots down Namdev’s contention that he acted on the spur of the moment, it resurrects his claim that he killed Karandikar because of harassment and “the huge levels of stress’’ jawans have to deal with.
“Hamare baarah ghante duty chalti hain,’’ the letter says, “hum log subah chhey baje duty ke liye nikalte hain aur raat dus baje wapas apne barrack pahunchte hain. Khana khate hai, aur dress taiyyar karte karte humein 11.30 baj jate hain… Solah ghante duty ke baad yeh log zabardasti PT, parade karate hain (We start for work at 6 am and get back to our barracks by 10 pm. By the time we eat and get our uniform ready for the next day it is 11.30 pm. And after 16 hours on the job, we are forced to do physical training and parade).”
That Namdev was getting unhinged is clear when he says: “Jawan is tarah mansik roop se dheere-dheere santoolan kho rahe hain ki kabhi bhi koi bi bhayanak ghatna ghat sakti hain (The jawans are losing their mental balance in such a way that something terrible can happen any time).”