The Vakola tenant who had been abducted by men on Tuesday found his way back home last night, bringing back tales of his ordeal. He claimed that the goons who had barged into his home and dragged him away had claimed they were cops. Three of the goons who abducted Sufian Shaikh (28) on Tuesday have been arrested. They have been identified as Ashfaq Sayyed (22), Virendra Sonavne (26) and Sandeep Singh and have been booked under sections 170 (impersonating a public servant) and 395 (dacoity).
On Tuesday night, Vakola tenant Rajesh Gupta was picked up by Bandra cops on suspicion of drug possession. The cops thrashed him, and dragged him to the station. Within minutes, around 30 men arrived in a tempo. Claiming to be cops, they broke into the flat and left with his valuables. They also forced entry into Gupta’s neighbour Shaikh’s house. The goons abducted Shaikh and took all his valuables with them. Their landlord was later arrested for masterminding the crime.
The valuables, which the goons had taken from the homes of Gupta and Shaikh, were recovered by the police from a godown in Dahisar yesterday. A day after CP Mohan Dahikar (Zone VIII) initiated a high-level probe to find out why the Bandra cops had taken such aggressive action in the case without so much as a word to the local Vakola police, residents of the area have demanded that a case be lodged against Bandra’s API Mukund Yadav and his staff, who had carried out the operation. Naina Patil, a social worker, said, “Without the involvement of the police, the whole episode could not have been pulled off. The police have accepted that they carried out the operation, so why has no case being lodged against them?”
‘Encounter no 40’
In his statement, Shaikh claimed he was threatened by the ‘cops’ who abducted him. Speaking to MiD DAY, he said, “I was forced into a car, which drove around in Kalina. They continuously abused me and slapped me.” He added, “Once we drove into the highway, they told me, Aaj bade officer bahot mood mein hai, 39 encounter kar chuke hai 40 tu hai (The senior officer is in form today, he has already conducted 39 encounters, and the you will be number 40’).”
They goons took away his mobile phone. When they reached the highway in Virar, they let him go, but made sure they covered the number plate with cloth, so Shaikh could not note down the number. The car is yet to be traced. Shaikh said, “I then went to nearby Sunni Jama Masjid, where the Imam gave me clothes to wear and some money. From there I went to my brother’s house in Asangaon. I am afraid even to walk on the road. I get scared when I see a cop, fearing that they will pick me up again.”
A highly placed officer said, “The incident has left a very bad impression on the minds of people about the police. The officer should be punished severly and even his staff, so as the right message is sent.” Meanwhile, Gupta, the other victim, said, “I am thankful to MiD DAY as half of the belongings have been returned to me. The money, and some of my things are still missing.”