An upright 83-year-old retired cop with a squeaky-clean track record and stellar credentials under his belt is now gunning for the most unlikely miscreant - his own son. The octogenarian has been running from pillar to post for the past year, to bring his corrupt son to book. To add to the irony, this son is himself a cop.
His service record, however, provides a picture of contrast to that of his father’s, marred as it is by grave allegations of shielding criminals and accepting huge bribes. Laxman Phatangare, who is a retired sub-inspector from the Special Branch of the Mumbai Police, has accused his son Deepak Phatangare of usurping property worth crores of rupees that belonged to him.
Phatangare Senior has also accused his son of being corrupt, and has sought an investigation by the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) into his disproportionate assets. “I had filed a series of complaints against him at various police stations in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Besides that, the High Court too has permitted me to file complaints against him, but nothing has been done till date,” said Laxman, who retired in February 1989.
Laxman, who has several prestigious postings in the Mumbai police department under his belt, had not been involved in a single controversy in his 34-year long career as a cop, and had 120 good entries on his service record. While serving as an externment officer with the Preventive unit of Mumbai police in the early 70s, he had externed underworld dons Arun Gawli, Rama Naik and gangster Babu Resham.
“My son was arrested by the ACB while he was serving in Malad police station. There are several other charges of corruption against him. He should be taken to task under appropriate laws. Also, the ACB should look into his disproportionate properties worth crores of rupees,” said Laxman, who is currently living in Nerul. In his complaint, Laxman had also alleged that his son fraudulently sold a plot worth Rs 75 lakh without his consent. “I had bought that plot for Rs 30 lakh several years ago in my wife’s name. He claims that my wife transferred the plot to his name, and so, he sold it.
Not just that I had invested in the house he lives in currently, but he booted me out of it, without allowing me to collect my property documents, gold and other belongings. Also, I had a shop worth Rs 1 crore at Govind Nagar in Malad. He has taken that away too,” Phatangare said. Since his retirement, Phatangare has been operating as an estate agent. He had used his savings to purchase these properties.
The ACB has already taken note of Laxman’s complaint and a discreet inquiry is underway against the said Crime Branch officer. While the ACB’s inquiry against Deepak Phatangare is pending, it has received yet another complaint from some of the staffers of Crime Branch Unit X, which was dispatched last week. In this letter, the staff has raised severe allegations against Deepak, saying that he shielded hardened criminals and murderers in exchange for huge bribes from them.
“One of the staff members even deposited illegitimate money into Deepak’s friend Yogesh Tapale’s Bank of Baroda account in Lonavala, from time to time. All the money goes into this account, as his friend is constructing a lavish bungalow for him in Lonavala,” said one of the staffers of Crime Branch unit X on condition of anonymity. Another officer added that, “We have given a list of examples wherein Deepak has been allegedly taken money. We want that the department undertake an inquiry into all the cases listed by us.”
On March 12 this year, MiD DAY had reported that alleged serial killer Vijay Palande had sent a letter to the police commissioner, claiming that his Skoda had been illegally seized by Crime Branch officials and was being used by Senior Inspector Deepak Phatangare. Palande was arrested for murdering actor Anuj Tikku’s father Arunkumar Tikku and businessman Karan Kakkad. While Deepak denied the allegations, the car was eventually found inside the compound of Crime Branch unit X, and MiD DAY had even acquired a photo of it.
The Other Side
When contacted, Deepak Phatangare said, “I am not aware of any complaint filed against me by my father. If there is a discreet inquiry, they will not inform me.” Responding to the complaint letter filed by the staffers, Phatangare said, “Anonymous complaints do not have any stand. I don’t believe that my staff would do such a thing.”