Mumbai: Five policemen, including a senior inspector of police, who were nabbed on Friday for alleged involvement with a drug syndicate, were remanded to a week’s police custody till June 4 by a Mumbai court here on Saturday.
The accused are Anti-Narcotics Cell of Azad Maidan Police Station head, senior police inspector Suhas Gokhale and officials Gautam Gaekwad, Sudhakar Sarang, Jyotiram Mane and Yeshwant Parate.
All the five have been booked under the stringent NDPS Act and the police may proceed further against them by way of departmental action.
They were nabbed for allegedly helping their former colleague, ex-head constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe and his alleged mistress, Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, a drug queen.
Earlier, on May 15, the police had nabbed another key accomplice Paulraj Duraiswamy from Tamil Nadu, besides Patankar’s son, Satish, taking the total number of arrests to eight in the case so far.
The scandal, which has embarrassed the Mumbai Police first came to light when Kalokhe was arrested on March 9 after a police team found 114 kgs of the party drug Mephedrone or ‘Meow-Meow’, popular with youth, at his home in Satara district, around 300 kms from Mumbai.
Subsequently, police also recovered another 12 kgs from his locker in the Marine Drive Police Station in Mumbai where he was posted.
His interrogation and subsequent investigation led the police to ‘Baby’ Patankar, an alleged drug mafia queen who had been on the run for over a month.
Gokhale’s arrest has stunned the police establishment as he enjoyed the reputation of ‘Mr Clean’ and raised questions about the functioning of the key department dealing with narcotics.
Kalokhe and ‘Baby’ Patankar revealed the involvement of the policemen in the drugs syndicate who were in regular touch with them and helped them in the drug peddling business.
These policemen are also prima facie suspected of having prior knowledge of the drug trade and specific tip-offs from informers which were ignored.
Incidentally, ‘Baby’ Patankar had been arrested in a small drug peddling case 15 years ago and runs a small travel and tourism agency in Mumbai.
Police investigations have revealed that she owns huge properties in Mumbai, Pune, Lonavala and other parts of the state.
The latest development came barely hours after the Anti-Corruption Bureau trapped senior police inspector of Kherwadi Police Station Sanjay Jadhav and another official for taking a bribe of Rs.150,000.