Two police officers who were arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence to foist a case against Provogue owner Salil Chaturvedi, were granted bail by the Bombay High Court yesterday. Former senior inspector of Santacruz police station MB Gatade and inspector Subhash Kenjale, were named in a chargesheet filed in July for allegedly planting three grams of cocaine in a toilet at Chaturvedi’s home during a raid.
Justice AM Thipsay of the Bombay HC ordered the release of both cops on bail of Rs 30,000 and one surety each. According to the court, the offences committed by Gatade and Kenjale were bailable, except offence under Section 195 (fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction) of the IPC.
The other sections under which they are charged are ‘public servant disobeying the law’, ‘public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury’ and ‘fabricating false evidence’.
Considering Chaturvedi’s application to have Gatade and Kenjale’s bail rejected, Thipsay observed, “If the complainant has a grievance, he may apply to the appropriate court. It is futile to contend that bail should not be granted.”
Chaturvedi’s application, made through advocate Rizwan Merchant, contended that the officers were likely to manipulate or coerce witnesses if released.
Merchant argued that the source of the drugs planted on Chaturvedi had to have been the police officers themselves. Justice Thipsay however, declined to consider this aspect, as this could not be inferred from the chargesheet, where charges under the NDPS had been dropped.
The Santacruz airport police conducted a raid at Chaturvedi’s home on August 2, 2005, and claimed to have recovered three grams of cocaine from his bathroom. The raid — and Chaturvedi’s immediate arrest — followed the detainment of two company employees on charges of drug possession that year.
Provogue Lounge CEO Vishal Maghnani, reportedly told the police that Chaturvedi was among his high-profile drug clientele that included Bollywood celebrities. In September, Chaturvedi, the two employees and six others were booked under anti-narcotic laws, and a chargesheet was filed against them.
On April 4, 2009, a special NDPS court acquitted Chaturvedi of all charges for lack of evidence and ordered a CID inquiry into his arrest
and the bogus charges against him.
In July, a chargesheet was filed naming Gatade and Kenjale, but dropped names of several senior officers whom Chaturvedi had initially named, along with stringent Sections of the NDPS Act.