Mumbai : In a shocking incident, a deputy commissioner of police (DCP) attached with the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), committed suicide by shooting himself in the head on Saturday afternoon.
Sanjay Banerjee (47), shot himself on a dining table of Goa Portuguesa restaurant in Thane, in front of his wife and two children and several other witnesses. The police said the incident took place at around 3 pm at the restaurant located in Thane, Ghodbunder Road. However, the reason for taking such an extreme step is not clear. His colleagues said he had some domestic problems and was disturbed for a couple of months.
The police said that Banerjee, a resident of Omkar Building, near Hiranandani estate, Ghodbunder Road, Thane, planned a lunch outing with his wife Sushmita (40), two kids, Arjun (14) and Ashutosh (6), on Saturday at around 3 pm. “Banerjee reached the hotel in his private car and left his official vehicle. He also asked his operator and driver to stay at home. At around 3.30 pm, Banerjee ordered the food, while he was chatting with the family. Suddenly, before anyone could react, he pulled out his service revolver and shot himself in his right temple. Banerjee collapsed and fell on the ground. Seeing him bleeding profusely, his wife and his children began to cry,” said a police source. The family were having their lunch at the first floor of Goa Portuguesa restaurant, a franchise of the original restaurant in Mahim. The incident took place at around 3.30 pm due to which no other visitors were present at the spot and the hotel staff were in the kitchen when Banerjee shot himself.
The restaurant’s staff who were alarmed by the loud crying of children panicked after witnessing the incident. Banerjee was immediately rushed to the Thane Civil Hospital. However, he was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, no suicide note was found by the police from Banerjee, police said.
Banerjee who originally hails from Pune, is a 1996 batch IPS officer, who joined the Maharashtra State police in the same year, and his first posting was in Nanded as sub-divisional police officer (SDPO). On June 25, 2012, Banerjee was posted to ATS as the head of Data Analysis Wing of the counter-terror police agency. Banerjee played an important role in monitoring, recording and analysing the mobile conversations of several suspects of the 13/7 Mumbai triple blasts.
In 2010, Banerjee was appointed deputy police commissioner of zone 11. After which the former Mumbai Police Commissioner, Julio Ribeiro, had written a letter to state government expressing surprise over the appointment of one of the ‘tainted’ senior IPS officers. Ribeiro had expressed his concern over giving the sensitive post of zone 11 and had also alleged that Banerjee and three more IPS officers from Mumbai, had a reputation for “greed and corruption”.
ATS chief Rakesh Maria, Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh and Thane police commissioner K P Raghuvanshi also came to meet the family of the deceased officer to offer their condolences.
However, the police are still investigating the reason of suicide and it is still not clear whether an argument between Banerjee and his wife triggered him to commit suicide. Meanwhile, police officials are looking at the CCTV footage to find exactly what happened some five to ten minutes prior to the shooting.