The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the additional director general of Maharashtra’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) to supervise an inquiry into charges of corruption in the traffic police department levelled by a head traffic constable on January 6.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was hearing a petition filed by head constable Sunil Toke, who alleged that corruption was rampant in the state traffic department and sought that a case be lodged and a departmental inquiry initiated against certain allegedly corrupt officials.
Additional Public Prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik told the court that Toke had already been referred to the ACB which, in turn, had begun its inquiry under the supervision of the additional commissioner of police, Mumbai.
The court, however, noted that since the allegations were of a serious nature and not restricted to Mumbai, “it would be better if the additional director general, ACB, supervised the inquiry”.
“We direct the additional DG to submit a progress report within six weeks. We want a high-ranking officer to look into the allegations as the petition has set out cognisable offences against specific traffic police officials,” the bench said.
Toke, who is currently posted with the Armed Police Force, Worli division, joined the service in 1985. Between 2013 and 2016 he was with the Goregaon traffic police and the Wadala traffic police.
He said in the high court on Monday, “When nakabandis (roadblocks) are set up for drink-driving, out of every 50 cases only five to 10 are shown officially and prosecuted. In the other cases the police collect between Rs 10,000 to Rs50,000 depending on who the offender is.”
In his plea, filed through his counsel Pradeep Havnur, Toke said that during his tenure in the traffic department, he was shocked to see there was rampant corruption there. He listed several instances in which his colleagues, including seniors, extorted money from people.
“The traffic police take money from trucks that transport sand illegally, trucks that evade octroi, trucks that carry construction material, and also in cases of illegal parking, drink-driving and so on,” he stated in his plea.
“The traffic police department collects Rs 40,000 to Rs50,000 from four-star and five-star hotels to allow illegal parking outside their premises. There are thousands of illegal taxis and autorickshaws plying in the city without the requisite permission. The traffic police collect Rs 1,000 to Rs2,000 from every such vehicle every month and allow them to ply,” it went on to say.