Home Minister announces suspension of 'sex spa' cop
At a busy and dramatic session of the State Assembly, Home Minister R R Patil announced yesterday that orders would be issued immediately for the suspension of tainted top cop Nandkumar Chougule.
The announcement was made during discussions on the budgetary demands laid down by the Home Department. Chougule, former DCP in the Mumbai traffic division, had been transferred to Amravati recently, after it was exposed by MiD DAY that he had rented out his bungalow to Cleopatra Day Spa in Seven Bungalows, Andheri, which was found to be home to a flesh trade racket. The Social Service branch of the city police discovered the sex trade racket in course of a raid.
Patil said that as per the proposal forwarded by the police commissioner, the state had initially decided to transfer Chougule to Amravati, to avoid any interference in the probe. He said that it was not an acceptable explanation that Chougule had no idea that his apartment was being used as a brothel. Orders have also been given to the ACB to investigate the other properties owned by his wife, Patil said.
The issue came up for discussion when Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse levelled the allegation that the tainted cop was being shielded by the government, in spite of the fact that his disproportionate assets were revealed in a probe conducted by city police. Addressing the issue of disproportionate assets owned by Congress MLA Kripashankar Singh, Patil said that the ACB was probing the matter thoroughly with the help of personnel specially appointed for the job.
Khadse had read out details of the properties owned by Singh, his wife and his son, in Mumbai and elsewhere. He complained that the ACB was doing a shoddy job. NCP MLA Nawab Malik objected to the allegations levelled by Khadse, saying that Singh was not present in the house. Industries Minister Narayan Rane too cited the rulebook to establish that a matter that was sub judice could not be raised in the house for discussion.
Defeating the purpose of the session altogether, all the responses given by the home minister were only heard by the members of the Congress-NCP ruling alliance, and not the members of the Opposition, who had raised the questions. This curious circumstance was brought about by a boycott staged by members of the Opposition, when the Speaker asked them to curtail their lengthy questioning session and allow the ruling party to have its say. The Opposition however took umbrage at the request, and claimed that the ruling body wanted to cut short the proceedings so they could attend a lavani festival organised at NCPA. “Our members were not allowed to speak deliberately, so that the ministers could conclude the debate early and allow ruling party members to attend the festival at NCPA,” alleged Khadse and BJP member Devendra Fadnavis.