According to police officials there is an alleged nexus between politicians and drug peddlers.
After the arrest of the five police personnel in connection with the drug seizure case involving former head constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe and Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, senior police inspector Suhas Gokhale, inspector Gautam Gaikwad, sub inspector Sudhakar Sarang, assistant sub-inspector Jyotiram Mane and head constable Yeshwant Parate, police sources said they are trying to get to the political links. All the five policemen arrested have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Earlier, Kalokhe was arrested on March 9 after 114 kg of the narcotic drug mephedrone (also called ‘meow-meow’), popular in party circuits, was found in his house in Satara district of western Maharashtra. His arrest revealed that he had relations with infamous lady drug mafia from the city ‘Baby’ Patankar, who too was arrested later after being on the run for over 40 days. Another 12 kg of the drug was found in his locker at Marine Drive police station where he was posted. Then on May 15, police had arrested Paulraj Duraiswami alias Paul from Tamil Nadu.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohan Dahikar said they are still going in to more investigations to establish links. He did not tell on the roles of these five men in the drug syndicate. This is not first case in Maharashtra, earlier too many police officers were caught in police net for drug peddling.
Senior police officer on the condition of anonymity told this newspaper, “Many politicians have been supporting these criminals since the very beginning. It is their corrupt practices that have landed the city in this state today. Even these drug king pings are supported and hired by big underworld mafia, this complete nexus needs to be cracked and sabotaged. Police is conducting investigations.”
In 2010, then the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had recovered 12 kg of pure heroin, allegedly smuggled from Pakistan via Jammu and Kashmir, from Mohan, during his tenure as NCB chief in Chandigarh, Mohan would pilfer seized drugs and sell them to peddlers, including Vicky Oberoi and others in various cities. Police is trying to establish links, as drugs have become big underworld syndicate in Mumbai, where many high profile people are involved in trading and supplying.
A drug peddler, Kancha (Name changed) from Mumbai Central station said, “The police pockets are hugely filled by our bosses. They do not touch anyone of us unless and until there is a delay in giving ‘hafta’ to them. The police are aware of ours spots, the place where the dealings take place and also the regular customers, but will not act as all of us are protected. He smiled and left.”
As we went ahead, we met with another peddler, who refused to speak to us initially. We followed him and forced him to talk as he said, “You go near Crawford market which is right in front of Mumbai Police Headquarters you will find many drug peddlers roaming around there. He said this recent catch might be because of some personal issues or else you will not see many such catches on drug mafias.”
A tourist bus agent on the grounds of anonymity revealed that even travel operators have links with drug peddlers, “A bus owner charges the driver or the hirer as high as 40 thousand rupees return journey from Mumbai to Goa, for a 47 seater bus, which is high, so mostly these drivers indulge in drug smuggling and transportation alongside. They store the drugs inside the bus and in mango containers during summer seasons. You will never see a tourist bus being inspected at checkpoints or police nakas.”
Sreepad Sawant, a red-light area activist said, “Police are well aware about all these incidents as constables and Inspector receive bribes. Nigerian community is increasingly visible around these areas, which are popularly known for drug smuggling activities. The fresher who come to work at red-light areas are forced to dope in and the drug business runs inside the brothels too.”
“These things will never stop unless and until the government intervenes, because no cop is going to act against them,” she added.