Top Mumbai cop Rakesh Maria had not only hidden facts about location of Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte during the 26/11 terror strikes, but also concealed the timing of his death from the family, the deceased police officer's wife alleges in a book.
In her book, To the last bullet, Vinita Kamte writes about her first meeting with Maria at his residence following "a lot of pressure" from then Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor to meet her during which the official conveyed to her that the incident leading to death of her husband took place at 11.50 pm on November 26.
However, when she confronted him with the fact that the last call on Kamte's mobile was at 11.58 pm, "Maria kept a straight face," she writes in her book, which was released last week at Taj Hotel, a place which was attacked by Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists during the attacks.
She goes on to claim that Maria changed his version thrice on the question as to who had shot Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested by the security agencies, till he finally admitted that it was Ashok Kamte who had shot the terrorist in his hand.
Efforts to seek a reaction from Maria did not fructify, as he did not answer the messages sent on his mobile phone.
In her book, Vinita wrote that Maria had informed then police commissioner Gafoor at about 1 am that he had no news about Ashok, whereas the call records and wireless logs show that a message regarding the tragic incident had been conveyed to the control room manned by him much earlier.
Vinita said that Maria was reluctant to acknowledge publicly that her husband was the officer who had shot Kasab and not that he along with Anti-Terrorism Squad Chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar were shot down by the terrorists without a fight.
However, later due to a lot of pressure, Maria held a press conference on January 10, 2009, 45 days after the attack, during which he acknowledged the bravery shown by Ashok Kamte, she claimed.
She has also alleged that Maria had written to the public information officer of the Mumbai police not to hand over the call records and wireless messages citing the reason that this could hamper investigations into the attacks, a move which was turned down by the first appellate authority.
Image: Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria