In another indictment of the Mumbai police’s convoluted relationship with khabris, the force has been revealed to be employing the services of a tadipar, who has graduated to be its ace informer over the past year. According to police record, Agnel Leonard Weldaris (25), an accused in several robbery and assault cases, was externed in February last year. But he has since continued to be the Social Service (SS) Branch’s ace informer, and has been aiding and accompanying police teams in crackdowns on Mumbai’s nightlife. His chequered past came to light yesterday, after he was nabbed from south Mumbai for violating the externment order.
Weldaris has been a prime witness in several raids conducted on ladies’ bars, hookah parlours, discotheques, and dubious beauty salons. Considered to be the right-hand man of Assistant Commissioner of Police Vasant Dhoble of SS Branch, he has hardly missed out any busts carried out at the behest of the senior cop and his team, sources revealed.
According to the DB Marg police, in 2010, Weldaris had been arrested in two cases of robberies registered against him at DB Marg and Azad Maidan police stations, and another assault case at Byculla police station. In February 2011, after several other petty offences had heaped up against him, Deputy Commissioner of Police Anil Kumbhare externed him for two years.
Senior Inspector AS Surve of DB Marg police station said, “We have arrested the accused under Section 142 (violating the order of externment) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951. We produced him before the magistrate in Girgaum court, and submitted the chargesheet [on Wednesday].” The court has however released him on a bond of Rs 5,000. He has been asked to leave the city with immediate effect.
Recently, in a controversial raid on a flesh trade racket allegedly operational at Madness pub in Khar earlier this week, Agnel was sent as a bogus customer into the pub. Based on the information provided by him, the SS officials led by Dhoble raided the premises. Incidentally, the foray landed Dhoble and his staff into a storm, as the women ‘rescued’ in the raid and sent to rehab were college students and housewives who had nothing to do with prostitution.
Out of square
A senior Crime Branch officer said on the condition of anonymity, “What right does an informer have to accompany an officer on a police raid? All the raids carried out have to be within the purview of the law. If such criminals are used during raids on hookah parlours, we can imagine where the discipline in the force is heading.”
Agnel’s arrest comes amid unrest in the force after the commissioner’s recent diktat to dismantle all special squads formed by senior officers. According to the top cop, the units had deteriorated into dens of extortion activities and their members had been working hand-in-glove with criminals on the pretext of extracting information from them. Said an officer from the dismantled West Region Squad, “The commissioner himself has formed two special squads led by Dhoble and a Crime Branch officer who is at present heading one of the units. Both the officers have been involved in innumerable controversies. Who is accountable for their misconduct?”