Mumbai hooch tragedy: Malwani SPI knew about racket, allege cops

Jun 19, 2015, 15:54 IST | Vinay Dalvi

Senior Police Inspector Prakash Patil had previously investigated another hooch case, which meant he knew how such rackets operate, said sources

With the recent hooch deaths in Malwani raising questions about the involvement of the local police in the racket, it is Malwani police station’s Senior Police Inspector Prakash Patil, in particular, who is under the scanner. Sources alleged that he had full knowledge of the hooch racket but chose to ignore it instead of taking action.

Senior PI Prakash Patil
Senior PI Prakash Patil

Shady history
Sources pointed out that Patil’s record has hardly been spotless: under his watch, the Malwani police saw two Anti Corruption Bureau investigations and a custodial death. Despite this, he was not transferred.
Patil was formerly a senior PI at the Ghatkopar Crime Branch while Rakesh Maria was the Joint CP (Crime). On June 6, 2014 Patil landed the transfer as Senior Police Inspector at Malwani, considered to be a creamy posting.

After Patil was appointed as the SPI at Malwani police station in June 2014, the same year saw the arrest of a police sub inspector and constable from the station by the ACB for accepting a bribe of R10,000 from a businessman.
This wasn’t the end of controversies at the police station. In July 2014, a female police sub-inspector was also arrested by the ACB for taking R4,000 in a bribe from a tea stall owner.

“Later in April 2015, the police station also saw a custodial death, after 47-year-old Hari Chavan hanged himself there. His family claimed they had been tortured by the police for no reason,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity. This death even led to a morcha against the cops, but did not result in any consequences for Patil.

‘In the know’
Patil was also the investigating officer in another hooch case in Vikhroli, in which 87 people had died in 2004 due to consumption of spurious liquor. This, said cops, meant Patil knew how the hooch business worked, and had to have known about the Malwani racket as well.

“It can’t be that Prakash Patil didn’t know about the illegal business running in these areas. Cops usually let these things go since they get hafta from these businesses,” said a senior police officer.

Transfer stalled
Incidentally, a transfer (to Ahmednagar as ACP) was put in process for Patil a fortnight ago, but so far, he has not been relieved from his current duty.  

Despite repeated attempts, the Commissioner of Police was not available for comment.

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