encounter-3The Dy. Chief Minister and Home Minister R R Patil has advised police officials to go slow in encounters and to apply MCOCA sparingly. This after, the home department has been severely criticized by the home dept. The Home Minister’s advice however, has raised speculations on the credibility of the encounters by the police force. Pradeep Sharma, Praful Bhosale, Daya Nayak, Vijay Salaskar and Ravindra Angre are names that immediately compel one to think about encounters. Call it a twist of fate, but the names also are examples of hero who are now being cast as villains – hunters who became hunted.. And may be it this reason that the Home Minister has now come out in the open advising encounter specialists to go slow on encounters. The Home Minister’s statement comes in wake of the massive criticism it faces for the number of encounters and charging MCOCA too often. The Home Minister has said, and I quote, “Go slow on encounters. It should be a policeman’s last resort. Encounters should be the last option, and so should be the application of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act”. According to the home minister, encounters were justified a few decades ago when criminals ruled the roost in the city. Now in view of the improved law and order situation, the number of deaths of civilians has come down between five and 10. Under such circumstances, police officials should think carefully and explore all possibilities of bringing the criminals to book. And if the recent past records of encounter specialists is anything to go by, the Home Minister’s advice has reason. This is why : * Police inspector Pradeep Sharma, credited with a record number of 107 encounters, is on sick leave for the last more than a year ever since he was shunted to Amravati. * Another officer, Praful Bhosale, is currently under suspension following the death of Yunus in police custody. He has been credited with 75 encounters. * Another high-profile officer Daya Nayak, credited with 84 encounters, is also under suspension following a case filed by the anticorruption bureau in disproportionate assets case. * Vijay Salaskar, currently with the anti-extortion cell, is credited with 70 encounters. * Thane-based Ravindra Angre, credited with 60 encounters, is also under suspension following an extortion case filed against him by a leading builder. Now the Home Ministry is in the line of fire to answer if it is fair to not allow the criminal to have proper recourse to justice and a trial? Why does the police prefer to

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