State revokes suspension of 3 officials

The state government has reinstated three officials suspended more than two months ago after the escape of 51 inmates from Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh in Mankhurd.

The government has revoked the suspension and the officials have resumed work, confirmed Ujjwal Uke, principle secretary in the women and child development department.

Anand Khandagle, a district officer, Ashwini Dighe, a district probation officer who held the additional charge of superintendent at the protection home, and Neeru Sharma, then probation officer, were suspended after a high court-appointed committee comprising superintendent of police (traffic) Rashmi Karandikar and psychiatrist Harish Shetty held them responsible for the frequent escapes from the shelter.

In its report to HC on November 23, the committee called the shelter home a "living hell".

While Dighe and Khandagle were held repsonsible for overall failure of the institution, Sharma was accused of failing to make efforts to repatriate 23 Bangladeshi women.

She, however, claimed at least 17 emails were sent to Bangladesh High Commission.

"The officers have been reinstated, but they no more hold the same positions," said Uke, adding that a departmental inquiry was on.

"It is a government procedure to put people under suspension to ensure officers under scanner are not able to influence inquiry. Revocation does not mean they have been given a clean chit," he said.

The protection home facing a serious staff crunch has been accused of not providing food and sanitation to inmates. It had eight employees to look after 230 inmates before the fleeing episode.

Soon after the incident, all vacancies were filled.

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