A day after 36 cops from just one police station in the city, who were caught on camera taking bribes for allowing illegal construction, were suspended in the biggest-ever crackdown by the Mumbai police on corruption in its ranks, their trial looks set to be fast-tracked even as investigations spread to the role of civic officials.
State home minister RR Patil said a strong message had been sent out to the police force, even as police commissioner Satyapal Singh sought to soften the blow saying his men appeared to have been “induced into accepting money”.
The Mumbai police’s anti-corruption bureau also began a probe on Thursday into the case where, in a sting operation by activist Mohamed Kasim Khan, the personnel from Nehru Nagar police station in Kurla were filmed accepting money for allowing illegal construction in their area. The footage aired by several TV channels had sparked outrage as it came to light just after an illegal building had collapsed in Mumbra killing 72.
Satyapal Singh also ordered a departmental inquiry into Wednesday’s incident, which he termed shameful. Legal action would follow the inquiry, Singh said. “From the video footages and visuals it seems that policemen were induced into accepting money,” he claimed.
Activist Khan, however, expressed shock at the police chief’s statement and said that he now feared that he could be framed in a false case.
Patil, who is in Sangli, told HT that more people should come forward and lodge complaints against illegal constructions and errant cops, he said.
Director-general (ACB) Raj Khilnani told HT that the 36 suspended policemen had been named in the FIR filed against them. Khilnani said the investigation, which would begin on Friday, would focus primarily on the corruption allegations and pinpoint the roles played by the people involved.
However, the senior inspector of Nehru Nagar police station, Dhananjay Bagayatkar, who was also put under suspension for “lapses in supervision”, has not been named in the FIR.“References to some BMC staffers have also been made in the complaint. So the investigation will not only involve policemen but those corporation staff too,” he said.
“We will be asking for a fast-track court to conduct the trial.”
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will take action against its staff members only once a complaint has been filed against them.