“We are from a special team from Delhi and cannot reveal our identity… we want to conduct a raid.” — This is what a man told Sindhudurg police over phone on April 22. Subsequently, a raid was conducted at a house in a village in the presence of local police and a trader arrested for allegedly storing petrol and diesel illegally. Cash too was seized. But it has now come to light that six persons who conducted the raid were alleged impersonators, including a self-proclaimed RTI activist from Pune and a constable from Pune rural police, deployed for his security, all of whom are now on the run.
Sindhudurg police have launched an inquiry into the lapses on the part of the police team from the local crime branch, which accompanied the suspects during the raid without verifying their identities.
SP (Sindhudurg) Dikshitkumar Gedam said, “The suspects stayed at a hotel and from there reached a house in Nirukhe village, where our police team was called on April 22 night. They told the trader that they were from a special team in Delhi and then searched the premises. Some cans of petrol and diesel were seized. They handed the seized cans and Rs 1.85 lakh cash to the police team and left in a car. The trader was arrested and a case registered. Our police team should have verified their identities and informed superiors, including me.”
“When the trader was released on bail, he found that the cash seized mentioned in documents and what he had in the house did not match. Over Rs 5 lakh was unaccounted for. He then approached me and I ordered an inquiry,” Gedam added.
DSP Dayanand Gawas, who conducted the inquiry, said, “We checked the identification documents submitted at the hotel and CCTV footage. They have been identified as Shrijit Rameshan, who claims to be an RTI activist from Pune and has police protection, Rajbahadur Yadav, Anand Sadavarte, Anil Bansode, driver of the car, and a constable from Pune rural police. All are on the run. We have formed teams to nab them. They have been booked for impersonation and dacoity.”
Gawas added, “Earlier, we had called some of the suspects during inquiry, including Rameshan. They told us that they had only accompanied police for the raid.” Asked why police let the suspects leave after calling them for the inquiry, Gedam said, “We are looking into that aspect as part of the inquiry. Also, I need to point out that the trader did store some fuel illegally and a probe into that is on. We are also probing how the suspects got that information. And a departmental inquiry is on to look into the lapses on part of our officers and personnel.”