Saturday, 28 September 2013

Suyash Karangutkar (correspondent)

DCP Sanjay Banerjee
27TH September, 2013: Thane/ Mumbai: Seven months are about to pass DCP Banerjee’s suicide case and yet the police has not been able to reach to any conclusion as to what exactly triggered the top ATS cop to pick-up the drastic step that afternoon. DCP Sanjay Banerjee of Maharashtra ATS had shot himself inside Goa Portuguesa Restaurant at Thane on the 24th of March this year at the same time as he was having lunch with his wife and two teenage sons. While the reason behind his suicide remained a mystery then, the same is the condition currently. 

Sanjay Banerjee, the Deputy Commissioner of Police with Maharashtra ATS shot himself at his right temple with his .9mm service revolver amidst family lunch. He was immediately rushed to Thane Civil Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Later his body was taken to J.J.Hospital, Mumbai for a bullet post mortem injury. The time when the cop committed suicide, the Hotel Staff said, no other diners were present inside.

While the police proceeded with the probe, the Hindustan Times, Mumbai reported that the cop was among other two senior officials who were not paid their salaries, more than Rs.60,000 per month, for the last eight months as the government had failed to officially sanction their posts.
The reason of the suicide was unclear but the police suspected domestic disputes and work related stress, possibilities for the same. 

Sanjay Banerjee completed his B.E in Electrical Engineering from Pune and was a 1996-batch officer. He, who joined the Maharashtra Police as Deputy Superintendent of Nanded in 1998, served as the sub-divisional police officer in Nanded, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Thane Police and was later promoted as the Superintendent of Police in 2006. 

In 2009, Banerjee was appointed as the Deputy Commissioner of Zone 11 of Mumbai Police. A year later in 2010, on April 15, former Mumbai Police Commissioner, Julio Rebeiro, who currently runs an Anti-Corruption NGO wrote a private letter to Home Minister R.R.Patil which claimed that he (Banerjee) along with three other police officers was involved in corrupt practices. In 2012, he was posted as the Superintendent of the technical Cell of Maharastra ATS. 

In a statement to The Indian Express, a Senior Thane Police Officer said, “Banerjee consumed three-four shots of tequila at the restaurant, followed by a bear. It was while drinking beer that he told his elder son Arjun that he did not wish to live anymore.” The officer also said, “Arjun was taken aback by Banerjee’s statements and asked him why he was speaking that way.” The officer further added that Banerjee told his son that they all will be safe and that he had made sure that they will be safe before shooting himself. 

Sanjay Banerjee’s father Anil Kumar Banerjee, an ex- SRPF commandant who arrived in the city on getting the news told NDTV that he could not believe that his son committed suicide. Anil Banerjee described him as a dashing officer who loved his work. 

The MUMBAI MIRROR, a week post the incident, reported that Banerjee’s wife Sushmita told the investigators that her husband died while he tried to take his handkerchief out of his pocket mid-meal, causing his gun to fall out and discharge a bullet that hit him in the head. 

Her statement had brought a twist in the investigations that evidently revealed that the cop had shot himself in his right temple. The police confessed that earlier the family had also said so. 

The police had also told THE INDIAN EXPRESS that the C.C.TV cameras, at the restaurant were not functioning at the time of accident as the restaurant was going through something called as ‘Soft-Opening.’ 

"From the evidence it appears that Banerjee committed suicide by shooting himself. But if family members claim that he died in an accident, then we will have to consult forensic and ballistic experts for their opinion. We will ask them to examine the post mortem reports and tell us whether the bullet was fired from a distance or point-blank range," a Police officer told MUMBAI MIRROR. 

Even seven months after the suicide, the police have been unsuccessful in concluding the exact reason for the suicide. When we tried to find out more details about the investigations and the aftermath of the story a source told THE NEWS-O-HOLIC that Commissioner of Police, Thane shall have better answers for all our questions. 


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