City anchor: Accused cop on ‘shopping spree’: Police orders probe

A day after Newsline reported how an undertrial accused slipped out of the court and illegally spent around 20 minutes shopping at a nearby retail store, Additional Commissioner of Police (Local Arms) Vijay Chavan has ordered an inquiry against the constable who accompanied the accused into the shopping centre.

While sessions court Judge V D Jadhavar was recording statements of the accused in the alleged Lakhan Bhaiyya fake encounter case on Monday, suspended constable Devidas Sakpal slipped out of the court, went to a nearby shopping centre along with constable Santosh Bhosale, attached to the Mumbai Police's Local Arms wing, spent around 20 minutes there and walked back to the court.

This happened without the court's permission while it was still in session.

Chavan said, "I have set up an inquiry. An inspector has been assigned the work to look into the matter. We are also looking at the other constable, who had stood vigil outside the shopping centre while Bhosale and Sakpal spent time inside shopping."

On Monday, Sakpal was seen shopping for eatables in the gourmet section of a leading retail chain, before picking up a few T-shirts from the men's apparel section. He also made the payments with cash stacked in his wallet, which accused are not allowed to carry without court permission.

When the alleged fake encounter case came up for hearing on Tuesday at the sessions court, the special public prosecutor Vidya Kasle informed the court about the incident.

As many as 22 persons ? seven police officers, seven constables and eight civilians are facing trial in the case. According to the prosecution, Sakpal was one of the seven constables in a police team that killed fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan's alleged aide Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya on November 11, 2006. Gupta had 19 cases registered against him, of which 12 were related to murders.

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