Sucheta Dalal :Vinita Kamte pens book which could embarrass Mumbai police
Sucheta Dalal

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Vinita Kamte pens book which could embarrass Mumbai police  

November 24, 2009


According to Vinita Kamte, on 26 November last year, the bodies of the three officers—Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar—lay at Rang Bhavan Lane for 40 minutes even as a police van passed it immediately after they were shot by the terrorists, but the vehicle did not stop. It raises the question whether their lives could have been saved, she reveals in her book named “To the Last Bullet” which will be launched today. 
The three officers were not provided reinforcements for more than 40 minutes, despite Karkare requesting for the same, Ms Kamte reveals after she used the Right to Information (RTI) Act and procured call-log records to seek information about the incidents at Cama Hospital.
The revelation comes to light just as Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor criticised four senior IPS officers—KL Prasad, Parambir Singh, Deven Bharti and K Venkatesham—for ‘‘dereliction of duty’’ during the attacks, in an interview with The Week magazine.
On 26November 2008, the Taj Mahal Hotel, The Trident Hotel, Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Leopold Cafe and Nariman House were attacked by terrorists from the LeT. IPS officer Ashok Kamte, Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar were gunned down by terrorists near Cama Hospital. All three men were honoured with the Ashok Chakra on 26 January 2009.
Vinita Kamte co-authored the 248-page book with award-winning journalist Vinita Deshmukh, who received the Chameli Devi Jain award in 2008 and has won The Statesman Award for Rural Reporting twice—in 1995 and 2005.
“The book is in a series of flashbacks ranging from his (Ashok Kamte’s) childhood to the incident at Cama Hospital; it is a combination of his multi-faceted personality, of him being a sportsman and a fitness freak, his expertise with weapons and also his major postings to Solapur, Satara and Sangli. It also speaks about his first posting at Bhandardara where he took on the Naxalites, and about his family life,” Vinita Deshmukh explains.
The research on the events leading to the death of the three officers was done by Vinita Kamte and her sister Reviti, while Deshmukh traced Ashok Kamte’s profile leading her to all his earlier postings and also the manner in which the book unfolds.
“I contacted Vinita for an article in my magazine on the way she was using the RTI Act for getting information about her husband’s death. It was a kind of local story which was very important for me; and when we met, she told me about all the facets of her husband’s career; and then I realised that his life wouldn’t be contained as a news item,” Deshmukh said.
The book, published by Ameya Prakashan and priced at Rs300, will be launched at the Taj Mahal Hotel by the politician and social activist Aruna Roy. – Aaron Rodrigues [email protected]

-- Sucheta Dalal