'Cops used my husband as honey trap to extort money from gay men'
Supriya, wife of Marathi actor Ajinkya Shinde, claimed GRP men had been using her husband to lure gay men and extract money from them. When things went south, they made him scapegoat, and arrested him
The arrest of a Marathi actor by the Panvel police last month has blown the lid off a shameful racket involving at least eight Government Railway Police officials, who allegedly used to lure gay men using the 23-year-old actor as a honeytrap and then harassed and extorted money from them by threatening to tell their families about their sexual orientation.
Supriya with husband Ajinkya Shinde
What’s worse, when one of their victims refused to play ball and complained to the police after catching the actor and a GRP constable in the act, the officials allegedly made Ajinkya the scapegoat and arrested him in the case, while the constable was allowed to go scot-free with the police claiming that he was merely “trying to help”.
Ajinkya Shinde used to pose as a homosexual and lure men at urinals in Panvel, Kharghar and Belapur stations. Illustrations/Amit Bandre
With Ajinkya’s wife, Supriya (23), making these allegations to the GRP commissioner, however, an inquiry has been initiated into the officials’ involvement. “My husband is not gay, he was lured into doing this for the GRP with the promise of money and a police job.
He would then take his target to an isolated spot, where the GRP officials would show up
They also told him that he could use the railways freely and he would never be caught because he would be associated with them,” Supriya told mid-day.
They would extort money from the unsuspecting man by threatening to expose his sexual orientation to his friends and family. Ajinkya would get a cut and would be let go
Ajinkya used to live in Mangaon and had come to live in Panvel in November 2014 after getting married to Supriya. Since Ajinkya did not have a job at the time, he started looking for ways to support him and Supriya and even tried his hand at cooking at a restaurant, which he gave up in a couple of days.
Supriya said, “I got married to Ajinkya last year and we shifted to Panvel. In December, Ajinkya met Assistant Police Inspector Rajkumar Jadhav of the Belapur GRP and the officer offered him work with the police, promising that he would earn well.”
“Jadhav introduced Ajinkya to constable Mangesh Rakshe, who told my heterosexual husband that he would have to pose as a gay man and try and attract homosexual men by standing near the railway urinals at Panvel, Belapur and Kharghar stations.
He told Ajinkya that his part would involve just attracting the target and leading him to an isolated place, after which the GRP officials would take over,” she said. “The policemen used to let my husband go and extort money from the target by threatening to expose their sexual leanings to their family and friends.
The GRP officials offered decent money for this work to my husband,” Supriya said. Around this time, Ajinkya also got selected to work in two Marathi movies and he shot for them.
More the merrier?
A month after Ajinkya started working for the police, some other GRP officers Constables Ganesh Mirange, Rahul Ahire, Kadam and Zurungay, Court Karkun ASI Wagh and Police Sub-Inspector Kalve also met Ajinkya, according to Supriya, and asked him to do the same work for them. Ajinkya did this for about three months and used to make a good sum daily.
The GRP cops’ thriving extortion racket unravelled in February, however, when Ajinkya and Constable Kadam tried to threaten a bank employee, and their move backfired. The RBI employee, Parthasarathi (28), approached Ajinkya at Kharghar station and the latter allegedly threatened to expose his sexual orientation if he wasn’t paid.
Parthasarathi was trying to record this when Kadam came in. The duo allegedly robbed Parthasarathi of Rs 8,000. Supriya said, “Parthasarathi informed senior officers about this and then registered a case with the Panvel GRP for assault and robbery. PSI Kalve resolved the matter in the police station itself and released my husband.”
Parthasarathi did not give up and wrote an email to GRP Commissioner Dr Ravinder Singal to complain. “When PSI Kalve and constable Zurungay got wind of this, they told my husband to go underground for a month and avoid travelling even by train as the matter had reached the commissioner level.
On March 3, however, they called him to the police station claiming they just needed to sort some things out and would let him go, but arrested him in the fake robbery case,” said Supriya. “The case is obviously fake because a constable was with Ajinkya when the alleged robbery took place and if my husband was involved in a crime, he could have caught him right then. No money was recovered from Ajinkya,” she added.
“So many officers are involved in this crime and they had lured my husband with money and even a job with the police if he helped them in the racket. These same officers are now threatening that they will not leave us alone and will arrest Ajinkya in another case if we don’t keep our mouths shut.”
The GRP Commissioner has ordered an inquiry into the matter. Supriya has also recorded the threats of some of the policemen on her mobile phone and given it to the GRP, along with a statement about how her husband had been lured by GRP officials to pose as a gay man for them.
GRP Commissioner Dr Ravinder Singal said, “An advocate registered the FIR against the accused, Shinde, for posing as a gay man in railway stations and extorting money from people. After the FIR, we directed our officers to inquire into the matter and Shinde was finally arrested seven days later.”
“I also came to know that there are many officers from GRP who are involved in this matter, but I didn’t get any officer’s name. They settled all this at the lower levels and it never reached me. We are conducting an inquiry into the involvement of the officers and will punish anyone who is found guilty.
ACP Rajeshwari Redkar is conducting the inquiry,” he added. ACP Rajeshwari Redkar said, “We are conducting an inquiry and recording the statements of all the police officials as well as that of Ajinkya’s wife, Supriya.”