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Crack shot becomes target of raid
- Given free hand by court, investigators knock on the door of Daya Nayak

Mumbai, Nov. 20: The crime branch today raided the house of Daya Nayak, the country’s most celebrated encounter specialist, in connection with the explosive charges levelled by former journalist and self-confessed underworld mole Ketan Tirodkar.

The raid was conducted after Justice A.P. Bhangale of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court ordered assistant commissioner of police Shankar Kamble to begin a detailed inquiry into Tirodkar’s allegations against Nayak and some others. The former journalist has named as main accused Nayak, producer of Kagaar Mrinalini Patil, businessman R.C. Agarwal, underworld don Chhota Shakeel and Fahim Machmach, deputy to Dawood Ibrahim.

The raid rubbed fresh salt into the wounds of Mumbai police, which once commanded respect across the country and are now struggling to cope with the humiliating revelations in the stamp paper scandal. Eleven police officers have been arrested for involvement in the racket, which has also led to the transfer of police commissioner R.S. Sharma.

Tirodkar told the court that Nayak has committed offences which can be charged under the stringent Maharashtra act and that he has links with Shakeel.

The former journalist was directed to be with the crime branch when it raided Nayak’s house at the north Mumbai suburb of Kandivli. A source in Kamble’s team said they were hunting for documents that Tirodkar could identify. But Nayak said: “Nothing has been found at my place.”

The team also raided Patil’s house before moving on to Agarwal’s residence. No further details were provided.

Taking note of reports that an earlier investigation against Nayak was “stalled”, the court gave Kamble sweeping powers and asked him to form his own probe team. Kamble had conducted an inquiry earlier into the criminal-cop-politician nexus. But it was discontinued midway, allegedly at the behest of some of his seniors.

The court has asked the assistant commissioner to restart the inquiry “independently’’ and submit a report at a date which is yet to be fixed.

Nayak, who said today’s raid was a fallout of groupism and rivalry within Mumbai police, has alleged that it is Tirodkar who is working for Shakeel and wants to keep certain police officers busy with litigation. The policeman said the raid was an attempt by Dawood and Shakeel to break the Mumbai police force’s morale. “If Dawood thinks he will succeed thus, he is wrong,” he said.

Nayak said it was not the first time that Tirodkar had made allegations against him. “He made similar allegations thrice in the past and each time they were found not to be true,” the cop said.

Nayak had said he is “not even 1 per cent’’ worried about Tirodkar’s allegations, adding that he is ready to face the court.

Nayak has earned a reputation as an encounter specialist that has served as inspiration for movies like Kagaar and the yet-to-be released Ab Tak Chhappan. Two Kannada films dealing with his exploits are being shot.

Tirodkar, who has admitted to being a “bridge and broker” between the underworld, police and politicians, said on Saturday that Nayak had collected Rs 5 crore from Shakeel to get some police officers transferred. The money was allegedly distributed among higher-ups.

Tirodkar also detailed how encounters are stage-managed with policemen and politicians sharing the spoils and spoke of police officers routinely paying for their transfers and postings.

There are 39 witnesses named in the case, among them deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, former director-general Arvind Inamdar and actors Jeetendra and Bipasha Basu.

The court today recorded the deposition of the first witness — city businessman Tejpal Singh.

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