Months after allegations surfaced over an inspector with Pune rural police and his team allegedly allowing red sandalwood smugglers safe passage,three constables have been suspended. The inspector has been transferred but no other action has been taken against him.
Police said that only after sandalwood smuggling kingpin Deepak Zare is arrested will it be clear whether the allegations against the officer are true or not.
On January 25,a raid was conducted on a godown in Waki Budruk village by Chakan police and sandalwood worth more than Rs 1 crore was seized. Police said the kingpin escaped days before the raid. As per the inquiry by additional superintendent of police Vijaykumar Magar in March,Two days before the raid by Chakan police,the local crime branch received the same information. A crime branch team went to the godown and allegedly demanded Rs 1 crore from the smugglers. It was renegotiated to Rs 60 lakh,of which Rs 15 lakh was first payment.
The then head of the team,N Gokawe,was allegedly present at the spot. The team allegedly ensured a safe passage for the goods and smugglers. After the primary inquiry,Gokawe was transferred to the traffic control branch and three constables,Shrikant Mali,Pappu Hinge and Vikram Pashankar were suspended,police said.
The investigation was handed over to deputy superintendent of police B R Patil. Police later arrested six persons including a smuggler from Tamil Nadu. These arrests had led police to kingpin Zare. But he jumped bail. A senior police officer said,The probe revealed Zare operates in south India and Chakan has been one of the places to stash smuggled red sandalwood, said an officer on the condition of anonymity.
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