In the wake of Nehru Nagar-based whistleblower Mohammad Kasim Khan’s sting operation that led to the suspension of 37 policemen for accepting bribes, Mohammad Yusuf Memon, a hawker in Andheri, is now planning to file a writ petition against cops for extorting ‘hafta’ from him and other hawkers. Memon’s personal diary states that the Andheri police extorts Rs 1 lakh on a monthly basis from hawkers who sit near Andheri (East) railway station. The hawkers also allege that if they refuse to pay the extortion amount, the cops threaten to take legal action against them.
Memon (52), who resides in Andheri (West), owns a shoe and cutlery stall near Andheri (E) railway station since 35 years. He earns nearly Rs 1,500 to 2,000 every day and claims that he collects Rs 1 lakh from 15 stall owners in the vicinity and give it to the Andheri police every month. He alleged that the stall owners run their business on the railway premises yet the cops extort money from them. And in the face of any crisis, when these hawkers approach the police for help, they are turned away on the pretext that the railways should address their grievances.
SUNDAY MiD DAY has a copy of the transactions noted in Memon’s diary. Surprisingly, some officials have signed and also mentioned the amount that they have taken. Another hawker alleged, “Often the cops confiscate our goods and take them to the police station. Later, they refuse to hand over our goods claiming that they have gone missing.” An agitated Memon said, “All our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Now, I’m planning to file a writ petition against Pradeep Gosavi, senior inspector, Andheri police station," said Memon.
However, when contacted, Gosavi denied the allegations. He said, “During my tenure, I have removed all hawkers from my jurisdiction. Then how can Memon claim that we are extorting money from him?” It might be recalled that in January this year the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials had arrested an assistant sub-inspector Anna Bhagat of the Railway Protection Force (RPF)) while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from a blind hawker at Andheri railway station.