The Maha Vikas Aghadi government found itself tied in knots after a series of potentially incriminating revelations surfaced in the Antilia Bomb scare case. With the NIA zeroing on controversial Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze (now suspended) and the opposition’s mounting pressure, the state government yesterday tried to fend off the raging criticism by shunting Param Bir Singh and appointing Hemant Nagrale as the new Mumbai Commissioner of Police.
After he was appointed as the new Mumbai CP, Hemant Nagrale addressed the media. The Mumbai Police force is under severe scrutiny since the last few months and questions have been raised over its integrity. It has even been alleged that Vaze had planted the explosive-laden car on the instruction of then Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh. Nagrale remarked that the force was passing through a ‘challenging phase and vowed to restore people’s faith in the city police department with the help of his subordinate officers and other members of the force.
Nagrale, a 1987-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, has served as director-general of police, technical and legal, before taking charge as Mumbai police chief. He originally hails from Bhadravati village of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra. Nagrale is a mechanical engineer graduate from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, formerly Visvesvaraya Regional College of Engineering at Nagpur. He then went on to complete his Master of Finance Management course from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
Nagrale’s stint at the CBI where he investigated Harshad Mehta scam, Madhaopura Co-Op Bank scam
However, after completing his academic pursuits, Nagrale appeared for civil services examinations and became an IPS officer. He served in the police force in various capacities until 1998 when he proceeded on deputation to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) in March 1998 and served till September 2002.
During his tenure at the CBI, Nagrale probed several cases such as the Rs 130-crore Bank of India case involving Ketan Parekh, and the Rs 1,800 crores Madhaopura Co-Op Bank scam and the well-known Harshad Mehta scam.
Nagrale has received many awards during his long career, including the President’s Police Medal, Vishesh Seva Padak.
Just like his predecessor Param Bir Singh, Hemant Nagrale too was associated with the Mumbai 26/11 attacks case. On 26 November 2008, Mumbai was rocked with multiple terror attacks when 10 terrorists from Pakistan targeted various places in the city. Nagrale at that time was on deputation to MSEDCL which carried out rescue operations to help shift the trapped people to safer places and the injured to hospitals.
As per reports, Nagrale had entered the Taj Hotel at that time and was responsible for evacuating the injured persons. He had also recovered a bag full of RDX during the operation. He is also a black belt holder in Judo and has won many medals in the All India Police Games.
Param Bir Singh, the former Mumbai CP, was too associated with the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks case. However, Singh and three other additional commissioners of police were accused of dereliction of duty during the Mumbai terror attack. Hasan Gafoor, who was the Mumbai Commissioner of Police during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had accused senior police officials, including Param Bir Singh, of shirking the duty and not taking on the terrorists.
Complaint filed against Hemant Nagrale for physical and mental torture, possessing disproportionate assets
It is also worth noting that just like the former Mumbai CP, Hemant Nagrale too has been mired in controversies. One such is the alleged disproportionate assets case against him. A complaint in this regard was filed against Nagrale by his ex-wife Pratima. Married in 1990, the couple was granted a divorce in February 2009 after which Pratima filed a petition in the court accusing Nagrale of amassing disproportionate assets.
In her petition, Pratima had alleged that her ex-husband had opened three bank accounts in her name and was operating them to launder black money and acquire assets through benami transactions. She also alleged he had purchased 12 properties worth several crores either in her name or his own in four districts of the state. The Bombay High Court had then asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the state to probe the disproportionate assets case against IPS officer Hemant Nagrale.
Nagrale, in his defence, opposed the petition stating it was filed to settle scores. He contended that the properties and bank accounts were shown in Income Tax returns filed in Pratima’s name and, therefore, did not need to be declared before the state government. However, the court refused to heed his claim and ordered the ACB to probe the matter.
Besides, Nagrale was also accused by his wife of inflicting physical and mental torture. Prior to their divorce, in 2008, Pratima had filed a complaint accusing him of physical and mental torture and forcing her for unnatural sex. The court had then asked Pratima to approach the magistrate for these grievances. In his response to Pratima’s allegations, Nagrale had submitted in court that she suffers from a mental disorder and hence coming up with false allegations against her husband.