In an unheard-of action,Mumbai Police on Wednesday suspended a very large number of its personnel attached to the Nehru Nagar police station for allegedly accepting bribes from residents of a colony in its jurisdiction.
A local social worker captured on hidden camera several policemen pocketing the cash,and submitted the footage of the sting to senior officers,along with a complaint against 36 policemen.
Among those suspended is Senior Inspector Dhananjay Bagayatkar,officer-in-charge of the police station.
The whistleblower is 50-year-old Kasam Khan,a resident of Kamgar Nagar in Kurla. He said several policemen from the Nehru Nagar police station had demanded money from his friend Prakash Naval for allowing Naval to renovate a dilapidated structure in the 66-year-old Thakkar Bappa refugee camp. The BMC had some days earlier stopped the renovation.
I was present at the spot when a total of Rs 45,000 was paid to several policemen from the Nehru Nagar police station ranging from constables to inspector. They all demanded money in the name of Senior Police Inspector Dhananjay Bagayatkar,saying he would get the biggest share. While constables took Rs 500-1,000,officer-level policemen took up to Rs 2,000. I recorded the entire incident on a spy camera, Khan said.
He alleged that Nehru Nagar policemen had been extorting money from residents of illegal buildings for years.
Khan prepared DVDs and submitted them along with a complaint at the office of DCP (Zone VI) Lakhmi Gautam. He filed a similar complaint with the office of Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh.
On Wednesday evening,the state home department issued orders suspending the bulk of the 36 policemen named in Khans complaint. Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sadanand Date said,The process of suspension of the policemen is under way and a departmental inquiry has been initiated against them.
Khan alleged that he had earlier approached the Anti Corruption Bureau with the footage,but had been told that such videos were uploaded daily on the Internet. I then approached the commissioner, he said.
Khan had moved court in February seeking a stay on the demolition of the refugee camps that have remained in the area since independence and partition. Bombay High Court had subsequently put a stay on the demolition of these structures.
Home Minister R R Patil said,All the police personnel and one senior police inspector have been suspended. The decision has been takes based on the video clippings that clearly point to these people taking bribes. However,the matter will be thoroughly investigated. The matter came to light in the evening and based on the visuals which were made public,we have acted. The other details will be looked into.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said the preliminary inquiry suggested that the policemen were induced by the person who conducted the sting operation. We are definitely taking corrective measures. We will advise all our police stations accordingly, Singh said.