Besides the clinching evidence of a secretly recorded conversation,an attempt by A K Jain to destroy evidence by burning visiting cards in his office enabled the prosecution to nail the IPS officer in a 2000 graft case.
Jain and his CA friend Prasanna Lodha were convicted and sentenced to five years by a special anti- corruption bureau court Wednesday.
The prosecution claimed Jain tried to burn visiting cards and destroy evidence of a meeting with Lodha in his office. This was recorded as corroborative evidence in court.
Jain,then additional commissioner of police (Mumbai Central),was looking into a departmental inquiry report compiled by then deputy commissioner of police (zone 3) Amitesh Kumar against erring officers of Byculla police station.
Then Byculla police inspector Sanjeev Kokil was accused of turning a blind eye towards Sairaj bar-and-restaurant,notorious for operating beyond the deadline.
The prosecution said on May 21,2000,Kokil,who was on night shift,went on a round but ignored the fact that Sairaj was open at 2 am.
Minutes later,then DCP Sadanand Date found during a surprise visit that a Byculla police constable was standing guard outside the bar. He also found that while the main door to the bar was shut,patrons were being allowed through another door till early morning.
A departmental inquiry was ordered againt Kokil and a few other cops and its report compiled by Kumar was sent to Jain.
Jain approached Lodha,who got in touch with Kokil and demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to suppress the report.
Kokil told police after negotiations,the bribe amount was brought down to Rs 3.1 lakh,of which Rs 10,000 was to be paid to Lodha as commission.
While police caught Lodha red-handed accepting bribe on May 26,2000,Jain had to be cleverly trapped.
Lodha was made to call Jain and the call was intercepted, said special public prosecutor Kalpana Chavan.
While Jain was still unaware that Lodha had been caught,Kokil was sent to his office with a hidden recorder.
Police officers privy to the case said Jain was scared when he heard of Lodhas arrest and rushed to his office to destroy evidence of their meeting.
Jain came to his office at 4 am and burnt all visiting cards and other notings by Lodha. One of his staff,who was present in the office at that time,testified against him, Chavan said.
Records of calls between Lodha and Jain and between Lodha and Kokil also proved to be strong evidence.