Mumbai: Instead of tackling terror, ATS cops turn conmen

Aug 05, 2015, 07:00 IST | Saurabh Vaktania

5 policemen from Anti-Terrorism Squad's Juhu unit hatched an elaborate plan, which included staged arrest of 2 accomplices, to cheat UP builder of Rs 49 lakh on pretext of getting him Rs 35-cr loan

The ingenuity shown by five Juhu Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) personnel in allegedly conning a builder of Rs 49 lakh makes you wonder how many more terrorists would be behind bars if the quintet had applied the same skills and shown the same enthusiasm in doing their jobs.

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Victim: Akhilesh Chauhan
Victim: Akhilesh Chauhan

While the Versova police, where an FIR has been registered, is allegedly trying to hush up the matter of how the five ATS men and two accomplices cheated a UP-based businessman of the money on the pretext of getting him a Rs 35-crore loan, mid-day got in touch to the victim to understand the modus operandi.

The accused cops: Mahesh Dalvi, Shashikant Jagdale and Santosh Sawaratkar
The accused cops: Mahesh Dalvi, Shashikant Jagdale and Santosh Sawaratkar

The builder has also identified one of the ATS personnel, a constable, through a Facebook profile photo and mid-day has learnt the names of two others, an inspector and a constable, through sources in the department. Officials are tight-lipped about the identities of the other two ATS personnel.

Akhilesh Chauhan told mid-day that he had fallen prey to a well-planned con job
Akhilesh Chauhan told mid-day that he had fallen prey to a well-planned con job

The two accomplices, who are named in the FIR, have also not been arrested, despite the FIR being registered on July 17. The constables have been identified as Santosh Sawaratkar and Mahesh Dalvi while the inspector has been identified as Shashikant Jagdale.

(Left to right) Inspector Shashikant Jagdale and Constables Mahesh Dalvi and Santosh Sawaratkar of the Chandan Chowkie ATS unit
(Left to right) Inspector Shashikant Jagdale and Constables Mahesh Dalvi and Santosh Sawaratkar of the Chandan Chowkie ATS unit

All five ATS personnel, who are from the Chandan Chowkie unit, allegedly went to extent of staging the arrest of two of their accomplices as part of their elaborate con job.

The complainant in the case is Akhilesh Chauhan, a builder from Uttar Pradesh, who was looking for money for his project named ‘Colours Homes’ in Ghaziabad. Speaking to mid-day over the phone, Chauhan said, “I wanted a loan for my project and had approached several people.

Through my CA and other associates, I got in touch with Harsh Tiwari and Hemant Joshi from Mumbai in June. They claimed to work for a financier named Amit Shah. They told me they will work as middlemen and I would have to pay them 1 per cent of the loan amount that I get.”

Chauhan was in contact with Tiwari and the duo said that they were verifying his project and suitability for the loan. “On July 12, Tiwari called me and said that a loan of Rs 35 crore had been sanctioned and asked me to reach Mumbai as early as possible. They then negotiated with me and we settled on Rs 49 lakh as their commission.”

Mumbai meet
On July 14, a meeting was held at a restaurant on Juhu-Versova Link Road in Seven Bungalows, Andheri (West). “I reached the restaurant early in the afternoon, but Tiwari and Joshi did not come till much later. I made repeated calls to them and they finally arrived at 4.15 pm.

They confirmed that the Rs 35-crore loan had been sanctioned and would be transferred to my account the next day. I gave them Rs 10 lakh in cash and had already transferred Rs 39 lakh through an online transfer. After the deal was done, we all left the restaurant and I lit a cigarette,” said Chauhan.

Bundled in
“In a few seconds, an SUV stopped in front us, which had a blue beacon on it, indicating that it was a police vehicle. There were five people in the car and four got down. They bundled Tiwari and Joshi into the car, along with the bag of cash and left.

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I did not bother much as I thought it may be in connection with some case and it seemed like a police matter. “However, when I couldn’t get in touch with Tiwari and Joshi, whose numbers remained unreachable, and the Rs 35 crore was not transferred into my account, I started feeling something was fishy,” said Chauhan.

Sources told mid-day that the builder, through some contacts in the Delhi police, traced Tiwari and Joshi’s location, through their cellphone numbers, to somewhere in Kerala. Finally, on July 16, Chauhan met DCP (Zone IX) Satyanarayan Chaudhary and he ordered an FIR in the matter. Till this point, Chauhan had no idea of the involvement of the ATS men.

On July 17, an FIR was lodged at the Versova police station under Sections 420 (Cheating) and 406 (Criminal breach of trust) of the IPC against Tiwari and Joshi. The investigating officer, Police Inspector Sharad Patil of Versova police station, said, “A case has been registered, however, no one has been arrested yet. Investiga-tions are on.”

Chauhan later identified Constable Santosh Sawaratkar from the Chandan Chowkie ATS unit as one of the men in the blue-beacon car through the latter’s Facebook profile photo. Sources from the police department also confirmed the involvement of other officers, including Police Inspector Shashikant Jagdale and constable Mahesh Dalvi, from the same unit, who accompanied Sawaratkar and helped him stage the arrest, which was not even recorded in the station diary.

Officials did not, however, reveal the names of the other two ATS men. When Inspector Sharad Patil was asked about the role of the ATS officials, he hung up and remained unavailable after that. Joint Commissioner Of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti said, “We will conduct an inquiry in the matter.” Chauhan said, “I was cheated in very well-planned manner. I am at a big loss they took away Rs 49 lakh from me. I want people involved in the fraud to be arrested soon.

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