Constable Nitin Gaikwad, who was booked for possessing assets 882 per cent greater than his income, was allegedly profiting from the illegal sale of flats in MHADA projects while on duty to protect former Maharashtra housing minister Sachin Ahir, said police sources. Gaikwad was removed from the assignment after the former minister got wind of his alleged illegal dealings.
Gaikwad (40) served two stints until 2013 protecting Ahir — a former MLA from Worli — when the Congress-NCP government was in power. “At first, several people in my constituency complained to me that a police constable had been misleading them by promising to help buy flats in MHADA projects. Later, I received anonymous letters in which Gaikwad was named as having cheated people on the pretext of buying them homes,” Ahir told The Indian Express.
He added that he then wrote to the Mumbai Police to have Gaikwad removed from his guard. “Once I learnt of Gaikwad’s activities and the fact that he had been booked for cheating, I asked that he be removed,” Ahir said. Gaikwad was then posted to the Protection and Security branch headquarters in Ballard Estate, the ACB said. According to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Gaikwad had been booked by the Worli police for cheating a man of Rs 1.8 crore on the pretext of helping him buy a flat in a MHADA building. “He was later discharged from that case,” said a senior ACB officer.
Gaikwad is currently lodged in judicial custody after being arrested by the Crime Branch for a similar offence in Byculla. Until his arrest, the officer said, Gaikwad had been on a year-long unauthorised leave of absence, adding that a departmental inquiry was on against him. A perusal of Gaikwad’s and his wife Manisha’s finances between 2008 and 2014 has revealed that they allegedly purchased three flats in Bandra East and Mahim during that period. “All the flats were purchased at very low prices in MHADA buildings,” said the officer.
According to the ACB, the couple possesses jewllery worth Rs 7 lakh and have several bank accounts. Gaikwad, the ACB alleged, had also started a firm Parth Construction in his wife’s name. “The firm was neither registered nor operational,” said the officer. Since the probe began in 2014, the ACB has tabulated the couple’s income during the six years under investigation at Rs 16 lakh, the officer said. They are alleged to possess Rs 2.7 crore in disproportionate assets.