Retired Cop Suhas Gokhale: My beloved force did not give me a farewell
Arrested a day before his retirement over a drugs case, retired cop Suhas Gokhale waited four years for justice
Four years after he was arrested for his "connections with a drug cartel," former senior inspector of the Anti-Narcotics Cell Suhas Gokhale has been finally proven innocent, along with the other policemen arrested with him in the same case. The crime branch on Thursday submitted a report in the court in this regard."
Justice, although not denied, has been terribly delayed for these men in uniform and the ordeal has been nothing short of a nightmare, Gokhale said.
Having joined the Mumbai Police service on May 25, 1985, Gokhale was to retire on May 30, 2015. "I was one of the seven senior inspectors to be promoted to assistant commissioner of police on May 30," he said. However, on May 29, "after I had packed my neatly ironed khaki uniform hoping to attend the retirement parade on May 30, I was told to my utter shock that I was placed under arrest."
"My world collapsed. I went numb," recalled Gokhale, who was arrested along with inspector Gautam Gaikwad, sub-inspector Sudhakar Sarang, assistant sub-inspector Jyotiram Mane and head constable Yashwant Parate.
Mephedrone (meow meow) was seized from the cupboard of Dharmaraj Kalokhe, a constable from Marine Drive police station. He was arrested on March 9, 2015, and 112 kg of Mephedrone (MD) was seized from his house in Satara district along with 12 kg of MD and two grams of hash from his cupboard in the police station.
The cupboard of worms
Gokhale in April received a call from Shashikala Baby Patankar, the drug peddler accused with Kalokhe. "I was asked to do the preliminary inspection of the cupboard when I told my seniors that the powder did not look like Mephedrone. I didn't realise that I would be booked for shielding the accused who was peddling the drug against which I was fighting for three years," Gokhale added. Just the day before his retirement, Gokhale received a call from a crime branch official probing the Kalokhe drugs case. "He asked me to reach the CP's office from where I was arrested. I asked the officer if it could be done after the retirement parade on May 30 but he didn't budge."
'I didn't quit'
"I was put in police custody for 11 days and in the Byculla jail for 16 days. My 30 years of service and my reputation had gone for a toss. People who knew me as the anti-drugs crusader were now questioning me as if I was the mastermind behind the peddlers. I lived with this humiliation for more than four years, alone in Nashik. I would always tell my son that I will not die until this blot is off my name," said Gokhale.
The 12 kg drug seized from Kalokhe's cupboard was tested as Ajinomoto (Monosodium Glutamate) "15 days before my arrest but they hid this information from the court," said Gokhale, who has been partially paralysed since 2002. "But I didn't quit. I took up all possible 'active' posts. I was posted in Anti Narcotics Cell by Hemant Karkare and again in 2013 by Sadanand Date. When I took charge as a senior inspector in the Azad Maidan unit, the MD drug menace was rising but we worked to curb it."
"My beloved force did not give me a farewell. Justice has been done as expected but how will I undo the damage done to my name and credibility? I will still spend the rest of my life as an anti-drug crusader," the cop told mid-day.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe