Around nine policemen attached to Bandra police station have come under the scanner for allegedly helping a Kalina-based landlord evict his tenants from his property by framing them. The Vakola police, who are now investigating the matter, said that the landlord planted drugs in his tenant’s house and later tipped off the Bandra police about its presence in the apartment.
Making the case even more complex is the fact that minutes after the cops dragged one of the tenants 20-year-old Rajesh Gupta to the police station, a group of 30 unidentified robbers broke into the apartment and emptied it of all the valuables. The robbers also broke into the flat occupied by the landlord’s other tenant, identified as Sufian Shaikh (28). They then abducted Shaikh, who is still missing. The also took all the valuables from that apartment.
The Vakola police have so far arrested the landlord Jecy D’souza, who they believe hatched the elaborate plan to evict Gupta and Shaikh from the flats. It was the landlord who tipped off the Bandra police about the presence of drugs, who then raided his house.
On Tuesday at 1.15 am, around nine police officials from Bandra police station barged into Rajesh’s house in Kalina, Santacruz. The cops allegedly abused him, asking, “Maal kahan par hai (where are the drugs)?” They then thrashed a bewildered Rajesh. He screamed for help, and several neighbours emerged from their homes.
The cops then searched the premises. Rajesh told MiD DAY, “All of them came in civil attire. One of them even removed his gun and held it to my head and threatened to shoot me.” The cops then dragged Rajesh to the police station. When the shocked neighbours asked why, the cops replied, “We have found two packets of drugs in his house.”
Within minutes, even as the confused neighbours were huddled together, around 30 men arrived in a tempo and broke into the house, decamping with valuables. They also forced entry into Gupta’s neighbour Shaikh’s house. Shaikh too was alone inside. According to eyewitnesses, the goons abducted Shaikh and took all his valuables with them.
Naina Patil, a social worker, said, “This is the most bizarre incident I have ever heard of. How can cops be so cruel? All the residents of the building know them and will stand by them.” The Vakola police have taken statements from three eyewitnesses. One of them said, “Both Rajesh and Sufian have been staying in the area for the last few years. We will support them till the end.”
Neighbours claim that they called 100 several times to alert the police, but they did not arrive. The next morning, one of the residents went to Bandra police station and brought a battered Rajesh back home. Speaking confidentially, an officer from Vakola police station said that the conduct of the Bandra police in the matter was suspicious.
“Firstly, if they are conducting raids outside their jurisdiction, they need to inform the local police and maintain a diary regarding the same. Secondly, if the accused was picked up from his residence with drugs, then why was no case registered against him? The whole incident needs to be investigated since there is a strong possibility that the Bandra police were acting on the behest of the landlord.”
The Other Side
API Mukund Yadav of Bandra police station said, “We got a tip-off about drugs at Rajesh’s house. We were in a hurry and therefore did not register a diary with the local police.” He added, “We did not find anything from Rajesh, so I asked senior police inspector of our station, who ordered me to let him go.”
Abhay Shashtri, senior inspector of Bandra police station, simply said, “I will enquire into the matter.” API Bhaskar Kore of Vakola police station said, “We have registered a case against landlord Jecy D’souza, who planned the whole thing. He says his lawyer hatched the whole plan. We have also registered a case against 30 unknown people who took away all the valuables. The search is on for Sufian Shaikh. As the case is sensitive, I cannot divulge or comment more on it. Investigations are on.”