When touts Rakesh Verma and Rameshkumar Tripathi spotted a smartly dressed man surveying flats at Versova’s MHADA colony, they thought they had got their scapegoat. However, they did not know that their ‘victim’ was a police officer.
Verma and Tripathi were caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 40,000 on Tuesday from Assistant Police Inspector Deepak Shinde (40) who led them into a trap.
The two accused have been handed over to Kherwadi police station, said Chief Vigilance Officer Jawahar Singh of the Maharashtra Housing And Development Authority.
The incident occurred on Sunday, when Shinde was on his rounds at the MHADA flats at Swami Samarth Nagar, Andheri. He was approached by the accused, who claimed to be MHADA agents appointed for selling flats.
Verma and Tripathi told Shinde that they would manipulate the allotment lottery to ensure a three-bedroom flat if he paid them a bribe of Rs 8.5 lakh. They asked Shinde to pay an initial installment of Rs 40,000.
The cost of a three-bedroom flat at the MHADA colony is Rs 56 lakh, whose market value is said to be over Rs 1.10 crore.
Shinde reported the matter to the MHADA vigilance wing, who laid a trap. Shinde approached the accused again and the accused took him to their office in Borivli, and asked him to fill a form and interviewed him.
When Shinde was handing over the bribe to the accused, they were arrested.
Singh said many touts had been operating in a professional way. “They own offices, have printed application forms and also take interviews of the buyers.”
Touting have been active since last week, when MHADA invited applications for sale of its flats. The MHADA has put 3,863 flats for sale divided under four categories — the economic weaker section, low-income group, middle-income group and higher-income group.