Investigations into the alleged association of Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, arrested for drug peddling, with former head constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe and Assistant Sub Inspector Jyotiram Mane have revealed that the trio extorted Rs 25 lakh from a Malegaon businessman in 2013.
Kalokhe was arrested on March 9 for alleged possession of mephedrone, and Patankar was arrested later for allegedly providing the drugs to him.
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Mane, along with four other policemen, was arrested last week by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch after investigations revealed they had either shielded Patankar and Kalokhe or were part of their drug racket.
“In 2013, Patankar tipped off Kalokhe and Mane about the businessman saying that he was a suitable target for extortion. Mane and Kalokhe visited the businessman’s residence in Malegaon, posing as senior police officers, and made him cough up Rs 25 lakh threatening to implicate him in a narcotics case if he didn’t pay up. We are gathering more details,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Meanwhile, the Crime Branch has started a simultaneous probe into assets owned by the five arrested policemen, which will be evaluated against their income.
On Monday, Crime Branch officials started conducting searches at their offices and residences. “If we find evidence to establish that their assets were bought using proceeds of the drug racket, we will attach them under provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. If evidence does not establish a link, but if their assets are still found to be higher than their income, we will write to the Anti Corruption Bureau recommending a disproportionate assets inquiry. We will take a decision after evaluations are complete. We have information about at least two of the five policemen owning a fair amount of property in Mumbai as well as outside the city,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni.
Investigators added that a probe revealed that Patankar and Senior Police Inspector Suhas Gokhale, currently under arrest, exchanged 16 calls from the time she first approached him in February end to the time she finally fled the city.”
“Even after Kalokhe was arrested, there have been at least six calls between Patankar and Gokhale,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Kulkarni added that the numbers Patankar used to contact Gokhale were the ones whose SIM cards were later found in Patankar’s possession after she was arrested.
Kulkarni also hinted at some ANC officers’ name having cropped up. “Names of some officers with the Anti Narcotics Cell came to light early in the investigation, which is why the case was never given to ANC,” Kulkarni said.