Mumbai: Scapegoat released, Sena leader, cops in the dock

After mid-day’s report yesterday, police freed Dharmendra Jha, a mentally challenged man who had been languishing in Thane jail for nearly a month; he had been falsely implicated in a fake currency case by the police and a Shiv Sena leader

The day mid-day reported how the Thane police and a Shiv Sena leader let a mentally challenged man languish behind bars for nearly a month to further their own vested interests, the man was released and the joint commissioner of police has said that the role of the cops and the Sena leader will be investigated.

Dharmendra Jha (in striped t-shirt) with his family at the Thane police commissioner’s office  after he was released from Thane jail yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande
Dharmendra Jha (in striped t-shirt) with his family at the Thane police commissioner’s office  after he was released from Thane jail yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande

Dharmendra Jha had been allegedly made the scapegoat in a fake currency case in which the name of Rajesh Sonkar, vice-president of the Maharashtra Vikas Mathadi Transport and General Kamgar Sanghatana, a Sena organisation, had also cropped up. Dharmendra had been arrested on August 27 by the Shree Nagar police, Wagale Estate, Thane, and had been in Thane jail since.

mid-day’s report yesterday
mid-day’s report yesterday

“We are happy that my brother is coming back home. We have had a hectic month and after Dharmendra was arrested, we went to Delhi to try and meet the prime minister and wrote letters to him and the Union home minister,” Ajay Jha, Dharmendra’s brother, told mid-day.

“Today, after all our efforts, and with the help of Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order, Thane) V V Laxminarayan, who spoke to jail officials and managed to get my innocent brother out in a day, Dharmendra was finally freed.

My father and I lost around 15 kg running from pillar to post to prove Dharmendra’s innocence and I can’t tell you how happy I am,” added Ajay. “Sub-Inspector S P Burve of Shree Nagar police station had taken money from Rajesh Sonkar and promised him that Dharmendra would be freed in an hour if Sonkar could make him confess to the crime.

Sonkar had taken him to the police station with the help of one Jeetendra Jha,” said Udith Mishra, Dharmendra’s brother-in-law, who had also been trying to get him freed. “I have ordered DCP (Zone V) Vilasrao Chandanshive to carry out an investigation into the matter and submit a report in three days.

The role of all the police officials as well as that of Sonkar will be investigated. Jha has been handed over to his family members,” said Joint Commissioner of Police V V Laxminarayan. “I had a tough time in jail. They had told me they would free me in an hour, but did not do so.

Jeetendra, who is my friend, asked me to sit on his bike and told me he was taking me to have tea, but took me to the police station and handed me over. I didn’t say anything because I was afraid. They did not even inform my family of my arrest for eight days,” Dharmendra told mid-day after being freed.

“The fact that Dharmendra was finally freed showed me that there is still some honesty left in this country. I had almost given up hope of seeing my boy freed,” said Shivkant Jha, Dharmendra’s father.

On March 15, one Sanjay Sharma had deposited Rs 3.39 lakh in SBI, Thane, of which Rs 16,000 was found to be fake and the Shree Nagar police were informed. The police learnt that Sena leader Sonkar had a role in the fake currency case, but Sonkar allegedly bribed officials and, along with Sub-Inspector S P Burve, implicated the mentally unfit Dharmendra, who was innocent and had nothing to do with the case.

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