5 cops arrested in Patankar drug bust
A senior inspector with the anti-narcotic cell, who was slated to retire on Saturday, and four other cops were arrested on Friday over the Shashikala Patankar drug bust. The case had rocked the Mumbai police after 12kg of mephedrone was seized from the locker of a constable at the Marine Drive police station in March.
The Mumbai crime branch on Friday arrested Suhas Gokhale, senior police inspector attached with the ANC’s Azad Maidan unit, suspended inspector Gautam Gaikwad from the Nashik rural police, sub-inspector Sudhakar Sarang of Mumbai ANC, assistant sub-inspector Jyotiram Mane of the Anti-Extortion Cell, and head constable Yeshwant Parate from the Special Branch.
All five had figured in the call data records of both drug mafia kingpin Patankar and Dharamaj Kalokhe, the constable from whose locker the drug had been seized.
The arrest comes two days after the Mumbai crime branch took permission to interrogate Kalokhe who is in prison at Satara. Senior inspector Gokhale was set to retire from service on May 30, but was arrested before his last day in service.
Atulchandra Kulkarni, joint commissioner of police (crime), said, “We have arrested the policemen on specific charges and their further roles are being investigated.”
Officials were tight-lipped about policemen’s specific roles, but said that their involvement was found in the case during investigation. Police sources said they five were in regular touch with each other before and after the Satara police busted the racket in the first week of March this year and seized 110 kilograms of Mephedrone worth Rs 22 crore from Kalokhe’s friend’s residence. Later, 12 kg was found from Kalokhe’s locker at the Marine Drive police station.
Earlier, police had arrested more than five people in the case. Police sources said that at least three of the five arrested cops were involved in tipping off the Satara police to get constable Kalokhe arrested on the instructions of Patankar.
The accused will be produced in local court on Saturday and crime branch will seek their custody.
Police sources said that constable Parate was in touch with Patankar regularly over a long time. Police have found over 150 phone calls between Patankar and Parate, who had on an earlier occasion worked in the Mumbai ANC.
It was inspector Gaikwad who showed Kalokhe’s Satara residence to Parate who with the help of an informer Asif Rafiq tipped of the Satara police, who then carried out the raid and seized the drug, said police sources. At the time of the raid Parate was present in the Satara, added police sources.