At least 30 policemen from Nehru Nagar police station in Kurla were suspended on Wednesday after they were allegedly caught accepting bribes to permit an illegal structure to be built in Chembur, in a sting operation conducted by an activist.
The incident comes on the heels of the collapse of an illegal building in Mumbra, following which several civic officials, a corporator and a policeman were arrested for permitting the structure to come up. Wednesday’s arrests reinforce just how deep the official-politician-developer nexus is in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The activist, Mohamed Kasim Khan, shot the video, which was given to and broadcast by several television channels.
Khan said he decided to trap the policeman after a friend of his revealed his plans to bribe them and build an illegal 600 sq ft, 9-feet-high structure at Thakkar Bappa Colony, a refugee camp in Chembur (east). “My friend said the civic body had issued a stop-work notice, so he would bribe policemen and ward officials to secure permissions to build it without producing the requisite documents,” he said.
Khan said he volunteered to meet and hand over the money to the concerned officials. “Without their knowledge, I videographed all transactions and submitted the tapes to senior authorities,” he said.
According to Khan, based on the rank of the police official - from constable up to assistant sub-inspector - the bribe amount varied from Rs. 200 to Rs. 7,500. “In all, we handed over around Rs. 50,000 as bribe.”
Lakhmi Gautam, deputy commissioner of police (zone 6), confirmed that the policemen had been suspended for accepting bribe. “We are conducting a detailed investigation,” he said.