Informer accuses cops of stealing his SUV, demands Rs 1 lakh to release it
In yet another case that could dent the police department's image, a police informer levelled charges of car theft, intimidation and bribery against the Anti-Robbery Cell chief and his team. Salim Sheikh has accused Jagdish Sahil and his team of colluding with informer Avinash Bali to steal his Scorpio SUV.
Salim Sheikh's Scorpio SUV, which he claims was stolen by members of the Anti-robbery Squad, headed by Jagdish Sahil, and one of their informers. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
In the first FIR Sheikh registered at the Goregaon police station on June 30, he told the police officials that his SUV was stolen from Ram Mandir Road, Goregaon (West) on the afternoon of June 29, while he had gone to offer namaaz.
A CCTV grab of cops (circled) exiting Altaf Sheikh's shop and heading for Salim's car (circled) parked near Altaf's Goregaon office on June 29
Sheikh said he had left the car keys at his friend, Altaf Sheikh's office, before the two left for masjid. However, after returning, Sheikh discovered that his car was missing from the spot where he had parked it.
In his bid to find his car, a week later, Sheikh requested owners of the neighbouring shops to let him scrutinise the CCTV footage for possible leads. While scrutinising the footage, Sheikh spotted Bali and officers of the Anti-Robbery Cell entering Altaf's office on June 29. A few minutes later, Sheikh saw that they left the area with his car.
Salim has accused Bali (right) of holding a grudge against him for not letting him use the car in the past
"Once I recognised the squad in the CCTV footage, I approached its chief, Jagdish Sahil, at the Yellow Gate police station and requested him to hand over my SUV. However, he told me that the car was stolen. Despite showing him all possible documents proving that I was the car's rightful owner, Sahil refused to hand over the SUV. Instead he abused and threatened to implicate me in a false case," said Sheikh.
Sheikh added that when he refused to give into Sahil's intimidation tactics, the police officer demanded Rs 1 lakh to release the car. "I told Sahil that if he is so sure that the car was procured illegally, then he should arrest me for possessing a stolen vehicle. But he manhandled me and pushed me out of the police station," Sheikh said.
He even claimed that the accused framed Altaf, a cable operator, by planting a vial of the drug, meow meow in the cash drawer. Sheikh said after stealing his car, the police officers called Altaf to a particular location and arrested him for possession of drugs. He was later handed over to the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC), but he secured bail four days later.
Speaking to mid-day, Sheikh said he knows the motive behind the confiscation his SUV. "In the past, I had refused to lend my car to Bali and Sahil sahab. This didn't go down well with them and they vented their ire by stealing my car." Sheikh added he approached the Goregaon police station with the relevant footage, following which Sahil was summoned by the station in-charge. However, he refused to cooperate.
"Realising that seeking justice was going to be an uphill task, I sought help from the government. I wrote to the home ministry and chief minister's office, but nothing worked," he said, adding, "Meanwhile, I started receiving threat calls from the underworld, wherein the caller would ask me to take back the case or face dire consequences. I complained to the Malwani police about these calls. Finally I approached the court last Friday. Taking cognisance of my writ petition, it issued summons to all the parties to be present for the hearing on December 22." Despite repeated attempts, Sahil and Bali remained unavailable for comments
'They framed my brother'
Accusing the squad of framing Altaf, his younger brother Jahangir said, “Our business is legal business and we are content with what we have. Bali holds a grudge against Altaf and Salim, which resulted in the planting of drugs in our office. Allegations that my brother is a drug supplier has tarnished our family’s name and forced us to undergo hardship.”