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Daya Nayak back at work

Daya Nayak

Mumbai, June 16: “Encounter specialist” Daya Nayak today made a surprise return to police duty, reinstated suddenly after six years in oblivion following his arrest and suspension.

Nearly two years ago, Daya had been cleared of charges in an assets case and a criminal case over his alleged underworld links, but his suspension was not revoked.

But the Maharashtra home department decided to quietly slip his name into a list of 300 cops being transferred on June 1. The order said Daya was being transferred from his earlier position in the suburban Charkop police station and should join his new unit on June 16.

Senior Mumbai police officers alleged the move might be an attempt to shield Daya from possible arrest in three weeks over an “encounter” killing in Gujarat that took place in 2003.

“If he is arrested and starts singing, not just top police officers but some top Maharashtra politicians may be in trouble,” an officer said. “The reinstatement will shield Daya as permission will have to be sought from the home department to frame charges against him. The department had shielded him in the past and will shield him again.”

Today, many at Maharashtra police’s local armed (LA) unit training headquarters at Naigaon were surprised to see Daya queuing up for a weapons instruction class.

“Daya joined today at the LA I unit for training. After a couple of weeks, he will be deputed to one of the four LA units of Mumbai police,” an officer from Naigaon said.

“He joined work today as ordered and largely kept to himself. He has been asked to stay away from the media,” said one of Daya’s close friends in the police.

Daya had been away from the spotlight since his February 2006 suspension till the CBI came knocking this April and grilled him for nearly four hours about the Gujarat encounter. Sadiq Jamal was killed in Naroda by Gujarat police, who claimed he was a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative. Sadiq’s brother Shabbir had alleged that Daya had custody of Sadiq in Mumbai and had handed him over to Gujarat police.