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Blind-eye charge on top cop

Mumbai, Nov. 27: The government has held shunted Mumbai police chief Ranjit Singh Sharma responsible for “looking the other way” as corrupt officers conjured up charges against some of the accused in the multi-crore rupee stamp paper scam.

Sharma was the police commissioner in Pune when the scam masterminded by Abdul Karim Telgi was busted and the inconsistencies in the case report were brought to his notice by his deputy S.M. Mushrif.

Sharma, facing a departmental inquiry three days before he retires on November 30, has been charged with contravening Rule 3(1) and 3 (2) of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules by “not maintaining absolute integrity and devotion to his duties”.

The chargesheet against Sharma adds that, on July 9, 2002, he did nothing when some officers under him deliberately shied away from applying provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in the Telgi case.

Although the inclusion and deletion of some names in the chargesheet against the main accused was brought to Sharma’s notice “in writing” on October 16, 2002, he failed to take remedial measures in his capacity as Pune police chief, alleges the chargesheet against him.

Sharma has also been charged with failing to remove M.C. Mulani — now suspended — from the investigating team, even after the then additional chief secretary (home), Ashoke Basak, had informed the police chief that the assistant commissioner of police had demanded a bribe running into crores of rupees from Telgi.

The shunted police officer has also been charged with failing to maintain discipline in the force and not intervening when the rivalry between two senior police officers under him came out in the open, dealing a body blow to the reputation of the force.

Sharma had failed to suspend a police officer when the latter was caught “waiting on Telgi” at his Cuffe Parade residence on January 9, when the mastermind was supposed to be in the custody of Mumbai police, which had brought him from Bangalore on a transit remand.

The mastermind in the stamp paper scam is still in Bangalore Central Jail.

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