TAINTED cop Avinash Madhav Sonawane, who is already facing 20 inquiries, faces one more blow as the Mumbai Police department’s Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) has ordered a harsher punishment of stopping his one year’s salary increment.
Sonawane, the then Senior Inspector of Police, Mahim police station is currently under suspension.
On July 18, 2014, the complainant Chitra Salunke was informed by Secretary of State, Right to Information (RTI) department that Mumbai police department has punished Avinash Sonawane by stopping his one year salary increment.
Copy of order available with ABI.
Chitra Anant Salunke, former Vice-Principal of Siddharth College of Law, Fort at South Mumbai on February, 25, 2005 had approached Azad Maidan police station complaining that 180 books and salary had been stolen from her cabin in the College. Salunke had herself written the book on labour law that was very useful for students.
At that time Avinash Sonawane was posted in Azad Maidan police station as a Police Inspector. He registered theft (under section 380 of IPC) case into the matter. Later, on August 31, 2005, books were found in College premises. Surprisingly on January 23, 2006 Sonawane filed C-summary (the FIR was neither true nor false) report in to the matter claiming that books were not stolen, were shifted by management due to renovation work. Sonawane informed Salunke about C-summary report but did not submit the report in court. He even failed to produce the copy of the panchnama of the recovery of the books. Salunke moved to Bombay High Court in which court ordered to inquire matter through senior inspector of police. Matter is still pending with senior inspector of police.
But Salunke continued requesting to include criminal trespass section in theft FIR. Sonawane refused to include trespass section. Salunke complained to top cops demanding to include criminal trespass section. The top cops sent the matter for expert opinion to Director of public prosecutor, Maharashtra state. The director of public prosecutor suggested including the trespass section in the matter. Sonawane received the order but ignored same.
Salunke demanded information through RTI if director of public prosecutor had sent any expert opinion. On May 25, 2011 Sonawane told state RTI Commissioner that he had not received any letter of director of public prosecutor. On September 20, 2011 state RTI Commissioner asked Commissioner of Police, Mumbai Rakesh Maria to initiate an inquiry in the matter, as it was serious in nature. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) (Gamdevi division) was appointed as the investigation officer.
In his investigation ACP found that Sonawane had received the expert opinion report but he kept it with himself. He did not submit it in the official’s documents. So Sonawane was responsible for missing expert opinion report. On the basis of ACP’s report Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) announced punishment (copy available with ABI) on Sonawane by stopping one year salary increment.
When contacted Sonawane said, “there is no such order. Abhi kuchh nahin hua uss matter mein.”
Corrupt and controversial cop
Sonawane is already facing several inquiries for improper investigation, indiscipline and favouring individual parties while probing the cases.
A Right to Information (RTI) reply obtained by Pravin Tripathi revealed that Sonawane has 20 serious complaints against his name. Thirteen of these charges are being investigated by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), zone-II, Nisar Tamboli. RTI activist Pravin Tripathi who runs a stall in the Mumbadevi temple premises, has alleged that the Sonawane was trying to implicate him in a false case, as he had exposed LT Marg police through RTI in the past. Tripathi wrote to the president, prime minister and Maharashtra chief minister on July 23, 2013 (copy with ABI), demanding a CBI probe against Sonawane.
- Home Minister RR Patil had ordered an inquiry against Sonawane after BJP leader Vinod Tawde alleged that he was favouring a builder in a case he was investigating.
- Allegedly tried to replace stolen diamonds worth Rs 6 lakh with fakes before returning them to the complainant.
- Faces inquiry for having recovered only Rs. 50,000 in a case where the complainant had lost more than Rs.15 lakh.
- Was pulled up for slapdash probe in a case where Nakoda Jewellers were cheated.
- Accused of getting a false FIR registered against a man.
- The Then police commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh had suspended six policemen, including Sonawane, the then senior inspector of the Mahim police station facing departmental enquiry (DE) in a suspected fake detection of diamond theft case. The “detection” had taken place when Sonawane was posted as senior inspector of the L T Marg police station.
- On August 9, 2013, the Azad Maidan police registered FIR against Sonavane for allegedly receiving a gold chain as a bribe from Chitra Salunke who had approached him to investigate a theft case.