A Mahim resident took the help of the Right to Information Act to make every day life a little easier. Santosh Nai (39), a tailor from Mahim, had been accused of being an associate of a gangster and subsequently, was being harassed by the police despite having gotten his name cleared.
The case was filed in January this year at the Mahim police station by Raj alias Basling Alam, Sunil Mhetre, Anil Mhetre and Rajesh Khakee. In it, the complainants, who Nai says are local goons, had accused Nai and two of his associates, Sabanna Sadaq and Ashraf Shaikh, of extorting money by pretending to be a gang member of underworld don Ashwin Naik’s gang.
The ‘accused’ were booked under sections 386 (extortion) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Arms Act. Following the charges, the tailor provided his Call Data Records to prove his innocence. Of the others, Sadaq had been admitted in a hospital at his native place, while Shaikh was at home at the time when the trio was alleged to have extorted money from the complainants. Sadaq and Shaikh both own shops adjacent to Nai’s unit.
In August, since no evidence was found, the three were proved innocent and the cops quashed the FIR after filing a B summary report in the case. But the local police picked up the victim again for questioning in the case. This is when Nai decided to use the RTI tool. “I filed the RTI application in September. The reply came a month later. I now have it in writing that police records show that I am not linked to the underworld,” said Nai.
In fact, Nai told MiD DAY it was Alam and his henchmen who had been extorting money from locals at Girgaonkar Wadi in Mahim. But the tailor had always refused to part with his hard-earned money. Nai added, “In November 2012, Alam and his gang entered our house and assaulted me and my family members. Since that day, they have been troubling us in various ways. They urinate at our doorstep and consume alcohol outside our house and make life hell for us.”
Nai, whose father owns a tea stall nearby, further alleged that the goons had even sexually harassed his daughter, but that he hadn’t lodged a case. He complained, “We are very unsafe here, as the local police is also not helping us. We have to think twice before leaving our house.” Alam has several cases of assault registered against him at the Mahim police station.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone V) Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “There are several cross complaints registered by both of them, in which they are alleging that the other party belongs to the underworld. However, we are investigating into the whole matter.”