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2 Mumbai EOW cops suspended for allowing Yusuf Lakdawala to have biryani during search

DCP, EOW, Parag Manere on Wednesday said the two APIs, Vilas Rathod and Sandeep Sawant, were suspended on Monday after an inquiry nailed them for dereliction of duty and gross negligence.

mumbai Updated: Apr 18, 2019 00:56 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Yusuf Lakdawala,EOW,biryani
Lakdawala was arrested from the Ahmedabad airport on April 12, while he was allegedly trying to escape to London.(HT File)

Two assistant police inspectors (API) from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) were suspended on Monday for allegedly allowing arrested developer Yusuf Lakdawala — accused in a ₹50-crore land-fraud case — to shave, take bath, and feast on a meal of chicken biryani during a search operation at his house,on Sunday. The two APIs, along with two constables, also allegedly took part in the feast, said EOW officials.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), EOW, Parag Manere on Wednesday said the two APIs, Vilas Rathod and Sandeep Sawant, were suspended on Monday after an inquiry nailed them for dereliction of duty and gross negligence. “They were suspended with immediate effect,” he said.

Lakdawala was arrested from the Ahmedabad airport on April 12, while he was allegedly trying to escape to London. He was remanded in police custody till April 20. Lakdawala and his associate, Mohan R Nair, were booked on the complaint of Jitendra Badgujar, sub-registrar of Maval taluka, for usurping 4.38 acres of a plot of land, belonging to an erstwhile Hyderabad Nawab, in Khandala.

Sources in the EOW said, on April 14, the two APIs, along with two constables, had accompanied Lakdawala to carry out a search operation at the latter’s Bandra residence. Once he was home, Lakdawala allegedly coaxed the two officers into allowing him to get a shave and take a shower. Later, the officers, along with Lakdawala, relished on chicken biryani cooked at Lakdawala’s home. The matter came to light when Lakdawala was brought back to the lock-up. On noticing Lakdawala’s clean-shaven face, the on-duty officer informed his superior.

On questioning him, Lakdawala allegedly spilled the beans. “When confronted, the APIs also admitted to having allowed Lakdawala the privileges without the requisite sanctions. This was ground enough for their suspension as such dereliction of duty is not permissible,” a senior EOW official said. He said that an accused in custody is allowed to have home food only on specific court orders. “Under no circumstances should the accused be left alone when he is taken out of the lock-up for any investigation purpose as there are chances that he may try to escape or attempt to harm himself,” the official said, adding, “as senior officials, the APIs were expected to follow these rules”.

This is not the first time officers have been found extending favours to high-profile accused. In February 2017, an API had been suspended for allowing the late Mustafa Dossa, an accused in the 1993 serial blasts case, spend time with his wife while he was being taken to Ahmedabad in a train to appear before a court. In 2003, a Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the fake stamp paper scam, found the kingpin, Abdul Karim Telgi, relishing tea and biscuits at his Cuffe Parade residence along with police officers, while he was supposed to be in the lock-up.

First Published: Apr 18, 2019 00:56 IST

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