Can ex-top cop fight legal battle on his own?

Mumbai: Former Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has approached the Bombay High Court, seeking to ‘independently’ fight the legal battle against Vinita Kamte, the wife of police officer Ashok Kamte, who had martyred in the 26/11 attacks. The former top cop has urged the high court to allow him to independently put forth his version in the case.

The case dates back to July 2014, when the state’s chief information commissioner (CIC) passed certain strictures against Maria while deciding a plea filed by Kamte.

She had petitioned the CIC after receiving ‘misleading’ information from Maria on the log records of the Mumbai police control room pertaining to the 26/11 terrorist attacks in the city.

In her plea, Kamte had claimed her husband had sought help from the control room, but Maria, who was heading the control room, failed to do so. She accused Maria of covering up his act by instructing the information commissioner to refrain from divulging any information to her.

Having considered her plea, the then CIC, Ratnakar Gaikwad, had passed a judgment observing that Maria was trying to hide something in the matter. The CIC directed the government to conduct a probe to ascertain if Maria had misled Kamte by giving wrong information.

Aggrieved by the order, the state government petitioned the HC and challenged this order. The state sought deletion of the strictures passed against Maria and other police officers.

Now, Maria has filed a separate civil application before a bench of Justices Amjad Sayyed and Prakash Naik, which has directed the Maharashtra government as well as the CIC, to clarify their stand in the matter.

Maria has approached the bench through senior counsel Anil Sakhre, who urged the bench to grant him an urgent hearing. “My client wants to fight this battle independently.

He wants to hire a separate advocate and put forth his version in the matter,” Sakhre told the judges. At this, Justice Sayyed sought to know why suddenly Maria wanted to fight the case independently.

“Earlier, my client did not move such an application as he was a public servant and thus the state government fought on his behalf. But now, he has retired from service and wants to fight independently,” Sakhre told the court. The judges accordingly, adjourned the matter for further hearing till two weeks.

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