How is Thane Central jail’s superintendent Hiralal Jadhav still hanging on to his job despite the mountain of serious complaints against him?
Thane Central Prison superintendent Hiralal Jadhav, against whom a woman constable of the jail filed a sexual harassment case on Wednesday, has a 2012 complaint pending against him in which 17 trainees of a jail staff college he headed in Pune accused him of sexual abuse.
The 17 women had alleged that Jadhav often made inappropriate comments about their clothes, referred to relatives visiting to meet them as their ‘customers’, and used obscene and insulting language
The complaint under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354 A (physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures) was registered with the Thane police on Wednesday night. On Thursday, Jadhav applied for anticipatory bail.
Hiralal Jadhav has a past record of harassing women officers
An inquiry conducted by the then Deputy Inspector General of Police Swati Sathe had found substance in the complaints and recommended Jadhav’s dismissal. While he was subsequently suspended, Jadhav challenged the order at the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT). The case is still pending.
Jadhav — who in Wednesday’s case has been accused of first badgering a constable with calls, pleading with her to meet him outside the prison and then trying to drag her into his car — was the principal of Daulatrao Jadhav Prison Officers’ Training College when the 17 women trainees accused him of sexual harassment.
While MAT stayed his suspension pending its decision in the case, he was reinstated by the state government with a warning that any new misdemeanour on his part would attract strict action.
Referring to Wednesday’s complaint against Jadhav and the pending case before MAT, Additional Director General of Police (prisons) Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay said: “The complaints against Jadhav are of very serious nature and the IG, prisons, Rajywardhan Sinha has filed his report in the recent complaint filed against him. The report will be submitted to the state government on Friday based on which action will be taken against him.”
Upadhyay added that the complaints filed against Jadhav in 2012 by female officers are also being investigated simultaneously.
The latest incident took place on August 28. The complainant in her statement to the Thane town police station said that she had been trying to resist Jadhav’s advances, but he being her top supervisory officer decided to go and meet him. When they met, Jadhav tried to pull her into his car. She, however, managed to break free and escape from the spot. The complainant has been temporarily transferred to the Byculla prison.
Additional Chief Secretary (prisons) Vijay Satbir Singh on Thursday said: “We have taken the Mumbai Mirror report very seriously and I have asked the additional director general, prisons, to conduct an inquiry and submit a report. We will peruse the report and take action accordingly.”
TRANSCRIPT OF A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE VICTIM AND THANE CENTRAL PRISON HEAD HIRALAL JADHAV
Jadhav I am waiting at the junction
Complainant You are still waiting. Praveen’s wife is here. She called me and said that they are coming to my quarters and have asked me to pick them up. I will be able to meet you for only five to ten minutes, sir.
Jadhav Okay I am waiting at the junction.
Complainant I am waiting for her, can we discuss whatever you wish to discuss over the phone.
Jadhav I am at the junction, you come here.
Complainant Okay I will come at the junction, but sir please tell me (what is that you wish to discuss).
Jadhav I am waiting near the Kalva bridge. It’s exactly where the bridge starts. It’s the main junction and my car is parked there. There is a high street light above. I am towards the left side near the boundary wall of the jail.
Complainant Sir please listen to me, I am very scared. This spot is near the jail.
Jadhav This spot is secluded. This is a quiet corner and it is some distance from the jail.
Complainant Sir, I am scared.
Jadhav My car is parked in a corner.
Complainant Sir, please can we have this conversation over the phone.
Jadhav You come here.
Complainant Sir please wait. She is coming in ten minutes.
Jadhav I have been waiting for 45 minutes now.
Complainant Sir, I will come, but if you could please tell me now what this is about.
Jadhav You come here personally and tell your friend that you have some work. Meet me and then leave immediately.
Complainant The friend is Praveen’s wife, my friend from Taloja prison. She has come all the way from Kalyan and she is an old friend.
Jadhav Tell her that you have some urgent work.
Complainant I told her that I have some work. She is here already. But sir please tell me what is this about.
Jadhav You come here and what is this why are you behaving like this?
Complainant We will have this conversation at the junction or do we have to go someplace else?
Jadhav You come…we will take a ride and then you go back.
Complainant No, no sir we will not go for any ride, I will not be able to join you.
Jadhav It will be a small ride…why are you behaving like this?
Jadhav We will meet in my car…now come quickly.
Meanwhile, an inquiry by the prisons department under Rajvardhan Sinha, Inspector General (IG) of Police, was initiated and a report was filed on Thursday evening. As evidence, the complainant has turned in WhatsApp messages and audio clips that Jadhav sent her, despite her protestations. Interestingly, Jadhav has previously been suspended for 18 months over similar behaviour.
Sequence of events
According to the police, the female constable was posted to the Thane jail six months ago and allocated a police quarters on a temporary basis.
However, she had plans of moving her mother and sister with her, but on August 22, there was a reshuffle and her quarters were allotted to someone else. At the time, she has said in her statement, she requested Jadhav to look into the matter and help her out.
“He assured her that he would aid her and exchanged phone numbers, asking her to call him later in the evening. Over the next few days though, he started sending her unwarranted greetings, forwarding poetry and dialogues and even some posed pictures of himself. He also started asking her to go out on long drives with him and meet him outside of work. On August 26 at around 8 pm, Jadhav asked her to meet him at the Kalwa Bridge circle, where he was waiting in his car. When she refused to sit in, he grabbed her hand and forced her inside, but she managed to get away,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.
Chain of command
Following the incident, on August 28 and 29, the constable approached Swati Sathe, deputy inspector general (prison, South region) and submitted the evidence along with her statement.
Two days passed, but with no response forthcoming from her higher-ups, she decided to approach the Thane police on Wednesday and register a case against Jadhav. She was accompanied by 10 other staffers who vouched for her and gave their statements to the police.
MV Dharmadhikari, senior police inspector, Thane police station said, “We have registered a sexual harassment case based on the statement given by the complainant. Further, we have started gathering evidence, including that provided by the female constable. Soon, we will take the statement of other staff members and take action accordingly.”
Now, taking cognizance of the complaint, the prison department has initiated an inquiry. Maharashtra additional director general of police, prison, Bhushan Upadhay confirmed the development and said, “We have initiated an inquiry against Jadhav.”
Snippets of the conversation
Complainant: Sir, please tell me why you want to meet.
Jadhav: Come near the Kalwa Bridge, just before it starts. You can see a tall streetlight adjoining and on its left side, my car is parked. No one will see us.
Complainant: I am too scared. If someone sees me, it will be big trouble for both you and me. You will get out of it, but I won’t.
Jadhav: Please come fast, no one is going to see, I have been waiting 45 minutes for you. Yesterday also you kept me waiting.
Complainant: Please sir, I respect you and will come, but where do we have to go?
Jadhav: Will take a round in the car. No one will see.
Complainant: I don’t want to get defamed unnecessarily. I will not come.
Jadhav: Ok come, we will talk in the car
In 2013, when Jadhav was the principal of the Yerawada Jail Officers Training Centre, he was suspended for 18 months after an inquiry found him guilty of using abusive language and crude gestures towards newly-recruited women officers. Around 13 women recruits undergoing training under him for two months lodged the complaint and he was sent on leave. Then additional director general of police, prison, state, Meeran Borwankar confirmed that he was suspended for 18 months during the time
Another complaint against tainted Thane jail chief
Constable alleges that SP Hiralal Jadhav threatened him for merely doing his job honestly; this comes just months after he was nearly shunted out over corruption charges
The chief of Thane Jail doesn’t seem to have learnt his lesson even after he nearly got shunted out in disgrace a few months ago, after an anonymous complaint revealed his corrupt practices. Instead, he is now allegedly trying to terrorise his juniors into silence. Unfortunately for him, this has had exactly the opposite effect, and prompted a constable to file a fresh complaint against him.
Constable Shrikant Thakre and Thane jail chief Hiralal Jadhav
Shrikant Thakre, a 28-year-old constable attached to Thane Central Jail has alleged that prison superintendent Hiralal Jadhav threatened him just for doing his job honestly. The three-page letter was addressed to Inspector General (IG) of Police Rajvardhan Sinha, who confirmed, “I received a complaint from the constable and we are looking into the matter.”
Thakre has been attached to the Thane jail since 2012. In his letter to the IG, he stated that he has a spotless record and has always done his job sincerely. Recently, during a visit by the IG’s office, Jadhav had asked him to share some records about the custodial death of one of the inmates, Robert Almeda, in 1996. Thakre shared the details of the 11 inmates who witnessed the death. But after the officials left, Jadhav abused him and accused him of being overenthusiastic in sharing information with senior cops.
Jadhav allegedly said, “I have co-operated with you but you create problems in everything. But this time, I will see to it that you are dealt with properly. If you think I will not do anything then ask the constables at Kolhapur jail what I did when I was posted there. I will do worse to you.”
Thakre also alleged that Jadhav has links with well-known criminals and often grants undue privileges to inmates. He further claimed that Jadhav might try to harm him through his criminal connections.
In fear for his life and job, Thakre wrote to the IG on August 12 to complain about Jadhav. True to his word, Jadhav posted Thakre on punishment duty the very next day, said sources. “He was asked to stand in a corner of the prison and keep guard there. No one had ever been posted at that spot before, and Thakre stood there for six hours in the morning and then four hours in the evening,” said an insider.
Five staffers have been questioned in the matter so far. Two constables, Satish Jumble and Santosh Mulik, confirmed Thakre’s allegations against Jadhav.
However, sources said that when IG Sinha visited the prison yesterday, he discovered that Thakre’s records are also tainted. When mid-day contacted Thakre, all he said was, “I don’t want to comment on the case. I trust the senior authorities to take quick action.”
The other side
SP Jadhav told mid-day, “Who am I to threaten him? It is a small issue and all the staff was present at the time of the incident. We collected all the records and kept it. He took a photocopy and gave it to them, which is not done. I also spoke with my superior officer about this. The allegations are baseless.”
Another constable files a complaint
Another complaint had been filed against SP Hiralal Jadhav last month by Thane jail constable Deepak Tudme. He alleged that Jadhav did not take any step to help him even though an inmate had threatened him in jail. He stated that the prisoner Arif Shaikh (key accused who allegedly provided logistical support to the shooters in the Navi Mumbai builder Sunil Lahoria’s murder case) threatened to harm him outside the prison. Shaikh is said to be a close aide of encounter specialist Emmanuel Amolik. However, during the inquiry, Tudme’s allegations were declared false as no one supported his claim. mid-day attempted to contact Tudme, but he was unavailable.
Flashback: 5-star facilities in Thane jail
mid-day had on May 25 reported that SP Hiralal Jadhav was accused of corrupt practices at Thane jail, where he would allegedly grant undue privileges to inmates in exchange for bribes (‘5-star facilities at just R5 lakh in Thane Jail’). He would allegedly allow inmates to make calls from his phone and would also smuggle in hashish, marijuana and alcohol with the connivance of jailers. An internal inquiry report had found him guilty and recommended that he be transferred in June. However, sources said that the process was put a halt under the pretext that the complaint was anonymous.