Sunday, June 3, 2007

Cops play it safe in ‘beerman’ probe

Mateen Hafeez | TNN
Mumbai: Faced with the prospect of embarrassment in court over the south Mumbai killings probe, the police seem to be playing it safe by not filing the chargesheet as they don’t have any clinching evidence against alleged serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu.

Reformed robber Kantrulu (36) was picked up by the police before being first booked for theft and later for four of the seven murders that took place from October 2006 to January this year. The police claimed to have recovered a blood-stained shirt and a chopper from where he lived. Kantrulu is lodged at the Arthur Road jail.

While the police successfully filed a chargesheet in mid-May in one of the four murders that took place on January 11 on a foot overbridge near the income tax office at Marine Lines, it failed to do the same in the second case, resulting in Kantrulu’s bail on Saturday.

Following the serial killings that shook south Mumbai, the city police formed a special investigating team comprising 450 personnel, which nabbed Kantrulu.

Trying to explain their position, deputy commissioner of police Brijesh Singh (zone-I), who headed the SIT, said, “The bail is in one of the cases we booked him. The 90-day limit is for entitlement to the accused for bail. The magistrate has no right to ask for an explanation as to why the police didn’t file the chargesheet.’’

A few police officials, after Kantrulu’s arrest, were happy to divulge information on the interrogation and the various tests conducted on him (like brain-mapping, polygraph, brain-electrical oscillation signature and psychological profiling). But they clammed up when other murders took place near the railway tracks after Kantrulu was arrested.

A new theory was floated then—”the murders could be the work of Kantrulu’s associates’’ and the “associates’’ included a taxi driver, a tour operator and a tantrik. But all efforts to solve the murders failed. At least three more kiilings took place after Kantrulu was picked up. The D B Marg police arrested another drug addict, Abdul Salam Shaikh, for the murders and chargesheeted him on May 18. But no link has been established between Kantrulu and Shaikh yet.

The police, who claimed to have “two witnesses’’, failed to pick up any of Kantrulu’s “associates’’ and were yet to establish the identity of six of the seven victims allegedly killed by the suspect. He was booked for the murder of an unidentified man that took place on October 25 near the Bombay Hockey Association at Churchgate and also for a killing that took place on December 25 near Rukhsana Apartment, under the jurisdiction of the Azad Maidan police.

Officials said Kantrulu’s brain-mapping report was positive and admissible in court. They also claimed Kantrulu spoke about his modus operandi during the narco analysis and how and why he chose and killed his “targets’’.


The Times of India, June 3, 2007