A year after the Mumbai crime branch “cleaned up” in which officers who have been in it for more than five years have been relocated, Mumbai’s new Police Commissioner, Vivek Vansalkar, now wants some of his “uncontroversial old hands” back in the unit, Which is considered as one of the main investigative agencies in the country.
IPS Officer Hemant Nagrale has made an adjustment to the Crime Branch after taking over the position of Mumbai Police Commissioner in March 2021 following the terrorist threat case in Antilia. In the aftermath of the case, the force tainted with the arrest of crime branch officer Sachin Wiese and the removal of then Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
A senior officer told The Indian Express: “We want to revitalize the crime branch that has traditionally relied on officers with a good network in the city and experience in crime detection. In the process of removing some rotten apples from the crime branch, which was once necessary, the crime branch is left The crime is with relatively young officers who are also new to the city. The presence of some experienced officers will help guide them.”
However, the officer said a strict vetting process will be put in place before officers are returned to the crime branch. We will check their past record, whether they have faced any allegations. Besides, thorough checks will be made on their working style by talking to former department heads and their colleagues. “If we don’t get any negative report, we will return it to you,” the officer added. The officer explained that the list will include officers who were transferred from the crime branch even in the years prior to the mass transfer after the Antalya case.
Shortly after taking charge last year, Nagaral transferred 84 police officers, 65 of whom belonged to crime branch units. This was primarily driven by the awareness of the apparent powers of then-Assistant Police Inspector (API) Waze during his tenure with the crime branch. He was one of the few officers who headed the crime branch’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) as an API officer rather than the usual police inspector rank officer who commanded the unit.
The Mumbai crime branch of 1,000 has traditionally conducted parallel investigations into major cases registered by police stations across the city. As police stations are burdened with handling law and order issues among other responsibilities, the crime branch is expected to take the lead in investigations.
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The crime branch is headed by a Joint Commissioner followed by two Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP) – rank officers. Each of the city’s twelve districts contains a crime branch unit as well as specialized units such as the anti-extortion cell, property cell, and others.
The crime branch was instrumental in resolving high-profile cases. From being involved in the investigation of the Shakti Mill gang rape case and J Dey murder case to playing a role in bringing gangsters like Ravi Pujari and Ejaz Lakdawala back to India from their hideouts in foreign countries, the crime branch has played a major role in bringing several cases to conclusion.