So this is how illegal buildings exist with impunity — till they come crashing down, that is. A social worker from Kurla has managed to capture 35 Nehru Nagar police officials in the act of accepting bribes worth a total Rs 45,000, in exchange for calling off the bulldozers from a structure in a refugee camp that was being demolished under their supervision.
The structure in question was the residence of Prakash Nawal, at room nine in barrack two of the Thakkar Bappa Refugee Camp in Kurla (East). Nawal’s 18-feet high ground-plus-one structure is in shambles and was in the process of being renovated.
Learning that Nawal had not acquired permission from the municipal authorities, the M-Ward officials issued him a stop-work notice, but the renovation continued. After receiving the third notice, Nawal stopped the renovation work, but it was too late: the authorities had already decided to unleash their bulldozers on his structure.
Nawal’s friend Mohammad Kasim Khan, who happens to be a social worker, said, “When municipal officials and police arrived to demolish the structure, I was armed and ready to conduct a sting operation.
I distributed about Rs 45,000 to 35 police officials of Nehru Nagar police station. Cops of different designations accepted the money — from senior police inspectors to police inspectors, sub-inspectors to assistant sub-inspectors, and constables. They were captured in the act on my camera. A few days before the sting operation, I also paid Rs 20,000 to a sub-engineer of M (west) ward, but that could not be recorded.”
Khan said that he has approached the police commissioner, deputy police commissioner, joint commissioner of police and even the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) but to no avail. “The additional commissioner of police for ACB Jayendra Thakur even went to the extent of saying that hundreds of such sting operations exist on the Internet and that I should approach the police commissioner,” added Khan.
In February 2013, Khan had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court asking the court to stop the demolition of refugee camps that have been in existence since the partition. “The court passed a stay order on the demolition of refugee camps,” Khan said.
Laxmi Gautam, deputy commissioner of police (Zone-VI) said, “ACP M S Bishe is conducting an enquiry into the alleged sting operation. As soon as I receive the report, strict action will be taken against whoever is found guilty.”
Home Minister RR Patil ordered the suspension of all the 35 cops caught in the sting operation and the senior police inspector at Nehru Nagar police station last night.