Files being burnt in Kripashankar's backyard

Files being burnt in Kripashankar's backyard
Mumbai:  The question is, after allegedly cooking the books, was Kripashankar Singh burning them on Wednesday? Staff members of the former Mumbai Pradesh Congress chief were seen incinerating bundles of files and documents in the backyard of the MLA's Sai Prasad building residence at Bandra (E) on Wednesday.

What is more shocking is that this act took place when cops attached to Nirmal Nagar police station were present in the building premises as part of regular bandobast duty.

Flame on
The special investigation team appointed by Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik on the orders of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday filed an FIR at Nirmal Nagar police station in Bandra, in the names of Singh, his wife Malti Devi, son Narendra Mohan Singh, daughter Sunita Singh, son-in-law Vijay Singh and daughter-in-law Ankita Singh. They have been booked under IPC Sections 409, 471, 420, 467, 468 and 201 for criminal breach of trust by a public servant, forgery, cheating and destruction of evidence. The Prevention of Corruption Act has also been invoked in the case.

While the local police said it was ignorant of the burning issue, witnesses who have captured the event on mobile phone camera (copies of photos with this paper) claim to have spotted Singh's office staff setting documents on fire early morning in the backyards of the building.

"A man in blue uniform came out of the premises of Sai Prasad building with a bunch of papers and burnt them. The man stood there for a few minutes until the documents were charred and then left after sometime," claimed a witness, who didn't wish to be identified.

When this correspondent made an attempt to enter the premises to meet Singh, she was confronted by the private security guards at the entrance. "No media is allowed inside the building premises," they said.

'Usual practice'

When contacted on phone, a senior office-bearer attached to Singh's office confirmed the MLA was out of Mumbai. When asked to clarify the incident, he said it was a usual practice to dispose of old files and papers. According to the office-bearer, the documents, that were destroyed, included Singh's visiting cards and papers with his letterhead of Mumbai Pradesh Congress chief. The burnt files also reportedly comprised applications of potential candidates for the recent municipal elections. "These files were of no use now and hence were destroyed," he said.

Being probed on the timing of setting the papers ablaze when the court has directed a high-level probe against Singh and his family, the office-bearer admitted the error. He said, "It was a mistake to burn the official files when the graft charges are yet to be tried against Singh. A court order should have been obtained to put to rest any allegation of destruction of evidence."

Mum's the word
When MiD DAY contacted police spokesperson, DCP (crime) Nissar Tamboli, on whether there will be an investigation to bare the nature of the files that were incinerated by Singh's staff, he said, "As per the high court order, the CP is investigating the case. Despite being the official spokesperson for Mumbai police, I can neither comment nor divulge the nature of investigation in this particular matter."

We then got in touch with Senior Police Inspector Pandurang Tangadpalli of Nirmal Nagar police station and asked him why such suspicious activities in the building backyard were not noticed by his officers. "Our assistant police sub-inspector is posted at the building gate and hence could not witness the happenings in the building's backyard," he said.

When asked if cognizance would be taken by the police regarding the burning of the documents, another police officer said, "The matter is being probed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Crime Branch and we have no role to play in the probe. Since no one has reported the incident to us, we cannot take cognizance of the same." Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik could not be reached for comment.

Look whose back!
The Nirmal Nagar police station located at Bandra (East) where an FIR has been registered against Kripashankar Singh, his wife Malti Devi, son Narendra Kumar, daughter in-law Ankita, daughter Sunita and son in-law Vijay Pratap Singh in connection with the disproportionate assets case was the same station that was inaugurated by the now tainted minister.

In 2001, Singh, who was then the minister of state for home, had performed the bhoomipujan of the police station and then inaugurated the police station on December 24, 2002. The launch was attended by then commissioner of police Mahesh Singh, joint CP (Law and Order) Sanjeev Dayal, additional CP (North) Ramrao Wagh, and DCP (Zone X) Bipin Bihari. Unfortunately for Singh, the same police station has now registered a case against the politico under Section 13 (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 467 (forgery of valuable securities), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating).

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