Bizman claims frame-up as high court orders investigation into the arrest
Cops take Bajaj and Bhatia into custody
- The 43-year-old man was nabbed by Central police (Ulhasnagar) in January 2022
- He spent several days in jail before being released on bail
- During the court proceedings, the high court noted serious investigative lapses
After the Bombay High Court criticised the Thane police over an alleged false arms seizure incident, including the arrest of a builder, nearly one-and-a-half-years later, five arrests were made. The 43-year-old man was nabbed by Central police (Ulhasnagar) in January 2022 and charged with carrying a country-made pistol and live rounds. He spent several days in jail before being released on bail and subsequently filed a petition to have the FIR against him quashed. During the court proceedings, the high court noted serious investigative lapses, leading the Thane commissioner to assure that he would personally oversee further investigation.
Screengrab of CCTV footage in which Duseja (in white shirt) is being taken away by cops
On January 29, 2022, around 1.40 pm, police officers from the Central police station nabbed 42-year-old Moti Duseja at Krushna Plywood in Ulhasnagar 3. Allegedly, a country-made pistol was found concealed in the back of his pants, and two live rounds were discovered in his right pant pocket. He was taken to the Central police station and charged under relevant sections of the Arms Act and Maharashtra Police Act. Duseja spent three days in police custody and was released on bail in February 2022.
Upon his release, he petitioned the Bombay High Court to dismiss the FIR against him, asserting that the firearm allegations were baseless, and he had been framed by an unknown individual. Duseja claimed, "I had gone to the Central police station knowing that I could be framed in some false case, and the same thing happened. The senior inspector and ACP didn't listen to anything and simply allowed the cops to book me in the case."
Moti Duseja, arrested for allegedly carrying a country-made pistol
Following the petition, Justice Nitin Sambre and RN Laddha directed DCP (Zone 5) Dr Sudhakar Pathare to oversee the investigation in November 2022. The court observed that "it appears that an inquiry was conducted by ACP regarding the seizure panchnama drawn up at the police station, and this court was prompted to review the case diary." The court noted serious lapses in the investigation, as Duseja was picked up from his shop while the panchnama was being conducted at the police station. Duseja even provided footage from a nearby camera, which showed that within three minutes, the police arrived and took him from his shop.
"As per the FIR, cops set a trap and picked me up from my shop. But everything occurred within three minutes; I was not even shown what they had recovered, and they just took me to the police station," Duseja stated.
Ashok Bajaj and Ajit Bhatia accused
In an order dated August 18, the court mentioned, "This court, having noticed that the investigation into the false involvement allegation was not carried out properly but rather in a casual manner, directed the commissioner of police to look into the matter." The court further observed, "the CP initially believed that the investigation should be handed over to the state CID. However, during the court hearing, the public prosecutor presented the communication issued by the CP stating that he would directly oversee the investigation."
During the hearing, DCP assured the court that he would conduct a thorough investigation and, if necessary, take action against any culprits, even if they are from his own department. The court also directed the registrar to preserve photocopies of the entire investigation papers, with the option to collect original papers if needed.
Following the hearing, the police took action and arrested five individuals, including Ajit Bhatia, a builder, Ashok Bajaj, Salman Sheikh, Aman Khan, and Asif Bano, on September 1. One more individual remains at large.
Who is Moti Duseja
A businessman by profession, Duseja began investigating bogus conveyance deeds created by land mafias in Ulhasnagar to illegally acquire government-owned land. Based on documents obtained through RTI, he filed complaints that led to the Thane police booking five builders for forging deeds in November 2017. The case sent shockwaves through Ulhasnagar, as Duseja claimed that more than 100 deeds had been fraudulently created. He alleges that land mafias have colluded with numerous state officials.