Wednesday, November 11, 2009

...Walking free

Today Daya Nayak can once again walk with his head held high, after 6 years of trauma based on the words of a criminal—3 years of humiliation followed by 3 years of suspension, mudslinging, and wrongful arrest. The outgoing Director General of Police (DGP), Mumbai, S. S. Virk has irrevocably rejected the ACB’s claim to file a charge sheet, pointing to a complete lack of evidence against Nayak in the disproportionate assets case filed against him. The Addl. C.P., ACB Mumbai, has received and signed the letter rejecting the sanction. This rejection cannot be challenged in any court. Nayak’s name is cleared, and the case that has haunted him for all these years is now finally closed. His repeated words of faith in the justice of our country are now vindicated; his supporters can proudly say “We knew and believed that he was innocent—now it is proved.”

Cast in many roles—guardian, swashbuckling cop, sharpshooter, and finally, a villain—Daya Nayak has had a long journey in the last decade. Much has happened after my last post.

Immediately after Daya Nayak spoke to the media in Feb 2006, he was arrested on a non-bailable warrant, despite having completely cooperated with the ACB. After 60 days, the maximum number a person can be kept in judicial custody without a charge sheet being filed, he was released on bail. Similarly, P. Manivellan was also released after being in custody for 62 days without any cause or reason. No evidence was found to keep either in continued custody. Manivellan was not one to accept injustice so easily though—he filed a case in the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) for his unlawful detention. And he won; in 2008, Justice Vyas, the SHRC chairperson, strongly condemned Pradnya Saravade (then Addl. C.P., ACB Mumbai) for her “arbitrary highhandedness and vindictive attitude” and called Manivellan’s imprisonment “a complete fracture of the legal system.” The court ordered a departmental enquiry against Saravade and directed her to personally pay a fine of Rs. 25000 to Manivellan for mental torture and damage. However, the Home department of Maharashtra govt. (then and now under the infamous R. R. Patil) shielded Saravade, and has snubbed the SHRC—no enquiry was conducted and no fine was paid. The matter is still in court.

In November 2007, the ACB sought the sanction of A. N. Roy, then DGP, Mumbai, to file a charge sheet against Daya Nayak. However, the sanction was neither granted nor rejected, possibly because the “evidence” was too flimsy. But since it was not rejected, Nayak continued to languish as a tainted, suspended cop thanks to indifference or purposeful callousness.

The ACB continued to find no evidence. It drove them up the wall one should think, else how do you explain their demand for re-arresting Nayak in 2008? A demand that the court unceremoniously threw out, condemning the ACB for targeting and vilifying a police officer without proof. So what happened to the ACB’s evidence? What happened to their “incriminating documents”? The “evidence” that they shouted about to the media...what did they find? They didn’t find 100 crores or 4 crores—not even 1 crore! They did find “assets worth 41 lacs”—about the price of a 2-room flat in a Mumbai suburb. What happened to the Dubai casino, the Swiss flat, the Canada trips, the Goa hotels, the luxury buses in Mangalore, the cricket betting, the forged certificates, etc etc etc? NOTHING was found, because it was all concocted nonsense to malign Nayak by the so-called Anti-corruption people.

And the media...oh what a field day they had. Each newspaper devising bigger numbers and more outrageous capers…the Times of India and Indian Express turning to yellow journalism for selling copies…the channels screaming about the absconding cop…did anyone actually “investigate”? Then or later? Why did no newspaper bother to find out why the ACB had not found any evidence? Perhaps because they knew that there really was NO evidence? Because they knew that Nayak was innocent and was being framed? More than anyone, it is the media that owes Nayak an apology for what they did—misusing the power of the pen to send a man’s honour to hell.

As a final desperate move, the ACB moved the court to attach the “benami properties” of Nayak on 28th Oct 2009, a mere 2 weeks before Nayak’s clean chit eventually came. The “assets” were now worth 62.7 lacs; no doubt the ACB took into account the appreciation of real estate in 3 years! But that too was useless—no evidence again, no attaching of properties, no success for the ACB!

He had already been cleared in the case accusing him of donating 1 crore for the construction of a school in his village. Yet, he was transferred out to a small, low-profile post in a Mumbai suburb—a demotion by all standards. Now, finally, Daya Nayak’s name has been cleared of any wrongdoing, any associations with the underworld, any disproportionate assets exceeding his income…he is now a free man. In his own words “It is the first time in 3 years that I have slept peacefully, happy that I have finally got justice.” Nayak has not been reinstated to his post yet, but it is expected to happen soon.

It is extremely unfortunate that this man, once sworn to be a committed protector of this city, lost some of the best years of his life, and that too merely on the accusations of a criminal masquerading as a journalist. It is sad that in a sense, the underworld has won—the dons wanted the encounter specialists gone; who of them remains in the force today? Vijay Salaskar, the last of the lot in active service, lost his life in 26/11. All the others are either suspended, arrested, sidelined, or in low-profile departments. How did the underworld win? Who helped them? The cops who got suspended or the cops who suspended them? The man who was the cop or the man who was the criminal? Why did the media blindly print the criminal’s words? Why were the cops whom the court reprimanded not punished? Questions…