Were 5 cops part of Patankar drug racket?
The crime branch believes the five police officers who were arrested in the Shashikala Patankar drug bust case on Friday, knew she was supplying drugs to arrested constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe, but failed to take action. They want to investigate if the five of them were involved in her drug racket.
The police officers, including senior police inspector Suhas Gokhale of the anti-narcotics cell (ANC), were produced in the magistrate court on Saturday, where the crime branch sought further custody. They have been sent to police custody till June 4.
The case came to light after the police found 12kg of mephodrone in Kalokhe’s locker at the Marine Drive police station in March. The raid was conducted in Gokhale’s presence.
The four other police officers arrested include suspended inspector Gautam Gaikwad from the Nashik rural police, sub-inspector Sudhakar Sarang of the Mumbai ANC, assistant sub-inspector Jyotiram Mane of the anti-extortion cell and head constable Yeshwant Parate from the special branch.
In the four-page remand application, the crime branch alleged the arrested officers were in constant contact with Patankar. “Though Patankar was shown as wanted after the Satara police arrested Kalokhe, the officers did not arrest her and communicated with her through their mobile phones,” read the remand application.
The crime branch alleged Gokhale gave her number to senior police officials and the investigating team late, allowing Patankar to remain absconding till April 22.
However, Gokhale’s advocate Dilip Mishra said when Patankar called, his client called back just to confirm if it was really her. The crime branch said Mane was aware Kalokhe and Patankar were holding a huge consignment, but instead of informing the police, he threatened the duo and tried to seize the consignment for personal gains.
The crime branch alleged said Gaikwad met Patankar at her Worli residence on March 10 without giving out her location to the police. According to the crime branch, Parate was helping Patankar sell the drugs.
Their advocate Shekhar Bhandari said these officers helped the police bust the drug racket and are being falsely implicated.