Model rape case: While girl was raped, cops on duty looked the other way
Investigations into the rape and extortion of the 29-year-old model have thrown up facts that only serve to sully the name of the Mumbai Police further.
The joint commissioner said more arrests are likely to be made in the case
It turns out that not only did several other cops at Sakinaka police station know about the crime being perpetrated by some of their own and do nothing to stop it, some of the civilians arrested in the case had been running a large-scale extortion racket with the help of members from the police force.
On the intervening night of April 3 and 4, the 29-year-old model and her male friend had been picked up by the accused, including three cops Assistant Police Inspectors Sunil Katape and Suresh Suryavanshi and Head Constable Yogesh Ponde, They were taken to the Sakinaka police station and the woman was then taken to the Sangarsh Nagar police chowkie, where she was allegedly raped.
The accused had also extorted Rs 9.33 lakh from the woman and her friend before letting them go. Officials close to the investigations said that the night duty officer, night inspector and several other officers and constables at the Sakinaka police station knew about the incident, but kept quiet and did nothing as the accused were their colleagues.
The cops have recovered CCTV footage of the woman being brought to the police station. On Saturday, Crime Branch officers investigating the case recorded the statements of all the other cops who were present in the police station on the night. “The Sakinaka policemen on duty that night, who knew about the incident, will help nail the accused cops.
Disciplinary action will be taken against cops who were present that night and did not act even though they knew what was happening,” said an official. Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni said, “More arrests are likely to be made in the case. No one will be spared. Action will also be taken against the policemen who were on duty at the time of the incident and knew about it.”
Huge extortion racket
Police sources said one of the arrested civilians, Ibrahim Khan alias Ibbu (42) is the mastermind of a large-scale extortion racket that has been operating for nearly 15 years. Khan and his gang would extort money from hoteliers and restaurateurs in the western suburbs by posing as TV journalists.
Sources said Khan inducted young men and women into his gang to pose as reporters and extort money. A source said, “The gang would roam around in SUVs in the night and target a particular pub or hotel. They would start filming things taking place inside the hotel and then extort money from the owner or the management by threatening to expose some irregularity.”
Some members of Khan’s gang were arrested last August by the Khar police, after they had extorted Rs 12,000 from a hotelier in Khar (West).
They were caught red-handed when they went to the hotel again. A similar case had been registered against them in Vakola police station as well. “Khan is a resident of Dongar in Andheri (West) and has been involved in extortion for the past 15 years. He has several cases against him and assumes new identities to avoid getting arrested.
Policemen are hand-in-glove with him and help him extort money from hoteliers, pub owners, and others. Khan has extorted money even from several struggling actors in the Oshiwara area,” said the source. “In the Sakinaka incident, Khan and his members posed as cops, along with the three actual policemen, to extort money from the model and her male friend.
The other arrested accused, Javed Sheikh (35), Sanjay Range (46), Tanvir Hashmi (34) and Ayesha Malviya (24) are all part of Khan’s gang,” he added.
Trap laid to arrest cops
When DIG Sunil Paraskar was accused of rape by a model last year, he had stopped reporting to duty and had managed to get anticipatory bail before he could be arrested. The three policemen accused in the rape of the 29-year-old model’s rape case had also gone home after they heard that an FIR was being filed against them.
To make sure that the cops were arrested, a message was circulated that Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria would be making a special visit to Sakinaka police station on April 23 and all the cops from the police station had to be present for it. When they got the message, the three cops went to the police station and were handed over to the Crime Branch.