Similar protests were signaled at the residences of CM Uddhav Thackeray & Transport Minister Anil Parab and also at Mantralaya
However, despite an advance intelligence, zonal police failed to take adequate steps including deployment of additional police force
Special Branch also called for additional force at the city’s entry points as protestors to travel in private buses and local trains
It’s official: the attack at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s South Mumbai residence Silver Oak was due to inaction by the zonal police despite an alert by the Mumbai Police's Special Branch. A letter issued by the Special Branch dated April 4 to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Vishwas Nangare-Patil had alerted about the possibility of protests by the striking MSRTC workers at Silver Oak, CM Uddhav Thackeray’s official residence Varsha, and at Matoshree, and also at Transport Minister Anil Parab’s residence in Bandra.
The Special Branch had specified that the protest could take place at Mantralaya on April 4, and the following day at Silver Oak and Matoshree. Over a hundred MSRTC workers stormed the compound of Pawar's residence on April 8, shouting slogans against him for his “failure” to address their grievances.
It has now come to light that the Mumbai Police's Special Branch had also warned that the protests at residences of key political leaders could cause a serious law and order problem. It had said that there was every possibility that the MSRTC workers, who have been on strike since October last year and have converged at Azad Maidan, may launch protests at residences of Pawar, Thackeray, Parab and at Mantralaya.
The Special Branch had therefore urged Joint Commissioner of Police Nangare-Patil to deploy additional force not only at residences of these leaders, but also at the city’s entry points including the check nakas as protestors may try to enter the city by private vehicles or on local trains. “This is necessary as protestors are firm on their demands for the MSRTC’s merger with the state government and may resort to agitation/protest,’’ the letter by the Special Branch stated.
The Special Branch had sent intelligence inputs about protest by MSRTC employees to the Gamdevi Police Inspector R Rajbhar at 1 pm on Friday. However, a preliminary probe by the Mumbai Police revealed that Rajbhar did not act on the inputs and failed to deploy additional police force at Silver Oak. Rajbhar was suspended by state Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Sunday.