MUMBAI : The Superintendent of Police, Palghar has disbanded his high profile special team which was set up for action on illegal activities like adulterated butter, paneer, milk products, sand mining, gutkha, illicit bootlegging and other crime, after allegations of extortion was levelled by a Boisar based sweet meat trader against two officers of the squad. The SP has also transferred two of the officers of the squad with immediate effect and an inquiry will also be instituted.
The SP had set up the team with special powers in Palghar district, which comprised of atleast 10 cops including an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI), a Police Sub Inspector (PSI) and constables. Gaurav Singh, IPS, had taken charge of the SP, Palghar in July 2018 and had created the special squad to get cracking on illegal crime in the district. The team had cracked illegal sand mining in Virar-Vasai belt, illicit bootlegging with liquor smuggled from Daman into Maharashtra, and also large quantities of gutkha also smuggled from Gujarat into the State. Recently, in January, the squad had raided many milk dairies in the Vasai-Virar belt and seized adulterated paneer, butter and other milk products (Hindustan Times had published many stories).
On 3 March, a tobacco and sweetmeat trader in Boisar contacted Singh and complained that two of his officers in the special squad had allegedly extorted Rs 4.10 lakh and were demanding the remaining Rs 90,000 through an agent, Raju Dubey of Nalla Sopara, who would harrass the trader. Further, Dubey also demanded Rs 1 lakh per month as hafta to be given to the two officers if the trader wanted no trouble from the police,said the complainant to the official. The two officers allegedly threatened the trader if the demand was unfulfilled, the duo would register case under Section 328 (causing hurt by means of poison etc., with an intent to commit an offence) of the IPC, said the complainant to the official.
As per the complainant, the special police squad "raided" his shop on 25 February and demanded Rs 5 lakh from the trader and the latter somehow paid Rs 4.10 lakh to the agent Dubey, who was acting on the behest of the two cops. They also would constantly harrass the trader for the remaining Rs 90,000 and a monthly hafta of Rs 1 lakh,said theh complainant.
Singh then, immediately ordered a FIR to be registered with the Boisar MIDC police team and a case under Section 384 (extortion) , 389 (putting person in fear of accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion, 213 (taking gift etc, to screen an offender from punishment) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC against Dubey and two others. No arrest has been made so far by the Boisar MIDC police and the police sources said they would be also scrtunise the raids conducted by the two officers of the special squad in the recent months.
Singh said the two officers,ASI Surendra Shiwade has been tranferred to the Control Room, Palghar while PSI Malhar Thorat has been sent to the Tulinj police station, and said an inquiry will be instituted and the guilty will not be spared and refused to comment further on the issue.