S Ahmed Ali 27 Nov, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK
MUMBAI: A real estate agent spent nearly five months in custody on a trumped-up drugs charge until a senior police officer agreed to listen to his version. Today, two years later, the Mumbai police has quashed the narcotics case filed against him and registered an FIR against all the 13 persons including 11 policemen and two builders who had framed him.
The first information report against the 12 policemen, including suspended sub-inspector Rajendra Bhosle of Dongri police station, and two builders, Ravi Shelatkar and P R Sundaram, is for offences under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Arms Act and various sections of the IPC.
The FIR was registered based on a complaint filed by the victim, Rajesh Solanki, in the Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate's court. An MRA Marg police officer said, "Investigations showed that Bhosle, on instructions from Shelatkar, framed Solanki. Sundaram and the other policemen abetted in the frame-up."
The case dates back to 2000, when Shelatkar floated a redevelopment project in Bhoiwada for which Solanki, an estate agent, had collected around Rs 1.83 crore from various businessmen by promising them plush flats. But the project failed to get off the ground and Solanki started demanding the money back. After making several promises that were never kept, Shelatkar called Solanki one evening to his friend Sundaram's office in Jogeshwari on October 19, 2004 promising to hand over Rs 1.25 crore.
It was 7.30 pm when Solanki reached Sundaram's office. The latter welcomed him and asked him sit in his office. After an hour, Sundaram received a call from Shelatkar saying he was held up in Delhi and would come the next day. Solanki then decided to leave. As he came out of the building, seven to eight policemen, including sub-inspector Bhosle, placed a plastic bag over his head and forced him into a Tata Sumo.
When he resisted, they pointed a revolver at him and threatened to bump him off in an encounter. He was taken to Dongri police station, and the next day produced in the NDPS court at Mazgaon and shown to be in possession of 340 grams of brown sugar and a country-made revolver. He was remanded to police custody, and stayed there for 150 days.
Fortunately for him, DCP Naval Bajaj had by then transferred the case from Dongri police to MRA Marg police station and initiated a probe into Solanki's allegations against the corrupt policemen.
During the inquiry, all the policemen narrated different versions. Two of them confessed that they had arrested Solanki from Jogeshwari and not from Dongri as reported by Bhosle. DCP Bajaj, under the supervision of then joint commissioner of police Ahmad Javed, then suspended Bhosle and informed the court about the development. Solanki was discharged from the case.
His advocate Rizwan Merchant said, "This case should serve as a lesson to all those policemen who are misusing powers vested in them under the NDPS law. By planting drugs, they are playing with the lives of innocent people and ruining many families in the bargain."