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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recalling murder of police chiefs

12/02/2008 11:25 PM | Agencies

Please do not remind me of anything," pleaded a traumatised Arun Jadav, who is the lone survivor of the shooting incident that claimed the lives of three top policemen of Mumbai.

Jadav survived the ghastly attack by pretending to be dead in the back seat, while two colleagues lay dead on top of him.

Two gunmen hijacked the police vehicle after killing anti-terror terror squad chief Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and additional commissioner Ashok Kamte, who were travelling in the same vehicle.

Jadav sustained three bullet wounds to his shoulders and is recovering in the Bombay Hospital.

Speaking to Gulf News, he said the two gunmen had commented about the bullet proof jacket worn by Karkare. When asked what the terrorists said before spraying bullets on them, the sub-inspector said: "I do not remember. They said 'bullet proof jacket pehna hai? (is he wearing bullet proof jacket?) and shot at Karkare sir."

Staring blankly at times and breaking down in tears, Jadav pleaded not to be reminded of the fatal night. "Please, I do not want to speak. I do not want to be reminded of it again and again," he said.

A doctor attending him said Jadav is still in a shocked state of mind. However a policeman who was in the room said he has instructions from higher officials not to reveal details of what he had seen and heard.

But hospital sources said Jadav had told the top officials who visited him that two men approached the vehicle and dragged Salaskar and Kamte's bodies out of the door, uttered abuses and opened fire again. After that, they mocked that Karkare was roaming around in bullet-proofs and shot at him again.

"Salaskar sir had exchanged seats with the driver and was behind the wheel," Jadav said. "Kamte sat next to him and Karkare sir on the seat behind him. I sat on the back seat with three other colleagues. We had guns and pistols but not enough bullet-proof jacket."

According to him, Salaskar stopped when they saw a red vehicle as television news channels had shown that the attackers were travelling in a red car.

When they spotted a red car near Rang Bhavan, on their way to Cama Hospital, Salaskar slowed down before bullets hit them from behind some bushes, killing the police officials on the spot. Before leaving, the culprits collected the officers' pistols. Gunmen left the vehicle near Vidhan Bhavan, as a tyre had burst, and drove off in a Skoda car. But they were intercepted by police near Girgaun Chowpatty.

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