The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police on Friday arrested five policemen for their alleged association with Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, a drug peddler who is currently in jail. Patankar is accused of supplying drugs to former head constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe.
Kalokhe was arrested by Satara police in March with 114 kilograms of mephedrone or meow meow and another 12 kg of the drug was found in his cupboard at the Marine Drive police station. Patankar is alleged to have been the one who gave him the drugs, and she was arrested from Panvel on April 22.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni confirmed the arrests. “The five policemen have been charged under various provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act as well as for dereliction of duty as per the Maharashtra Police rules.”
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According to Crime Branch sources, the five arrested are Senior Inspector Suhas Gokhale, Inspector Gautam Gaikwad, Sub Inspector Sudhakar Sarang, Assistant Sub Inspector Jyotiram Mane and Head Constable Yeshwant Parate.
Gokhale was heading the Azad Maidan unit of Mumbai Police’s Anti-Narcotics Cell, while Gaikwad, who was last posted with Igatpuri police station in Nashik (Rural), was under suspension after being trapped by Anti-Corruption Bureau. The other three accused are posted in various places in Mumbai, sources said.
According to the police, inquiries had established that the five policemen were aware of Kalokhe’s association with Patankar and yet did not bring it to the notice of their superiors, and some of them were even suspected to have helped Patankar in getting Kalokhe arrested.
“Gaikwad was in Khandala the day Satara police raided Kalokhe’s residence and arrested him. He, along with Parate and Mane, were in constant touch with Patankar during the days leading up to the trap,” said a Crime Branch officer.
The five policemen will be produced in the Esplanade Court on Saturday, where the Crime Branch will seek their custody for further interrogation, officers added.