The arrest of Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze by the National Investigation Agency has lifted the lid off purportedly shady dealings involving politicians and senior police officers in Maharashtra.
The latest revelation is contained in an intelligence report prepared by Rashmi Shukla, former head of the state’s intelligence department. The report, a copy of which was accessed by Newslaundry, talks about alleged corruption in the transfer of top police officers, purportedly in exchange of money.
The report, submitted to the government last August, accuses one Mahadev Ingle of using “political influence” and “high-profile contacts” to orchestrate the transfers of police officers.
But Newslaundry has found that Ingle, the purported mastermind, is actually a cab driver in Osmanabad, who denies any connection with police officers or politicians.
Yet the report naming Ingle was cited by Param Bir Singh, the former Mumbai police commissioner who was to a low-key position in the Home Guard. Singh had petitioned the Supreme Court against his transfer, and mentioned the report in the context of “malpractices” by Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.
Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis also at a press conference, demanding a CBI inquiry into alleged corruption in police transfers.
Here’s what happened.
Under Rashmi Shukla, the state intelligence department had obtained permission to tap the phones of police personnel and politicians. Shukla submitted her report of the “findings” to Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, then the director general of the Mumbai police.
Jaiswal then wrote to Sitaram Kunte, the additional chief secretary, home, and recommended that the matter be brought to the chief minister’s notice at the earliest. He also asked that the state CID order an inquiry to identify the culprits and initiate legal action against them.
The report noted a “network of brokers” who “are engaged in arranging desired postings for police officers in exchange for massive monetary compensation”. It said that the phone numbers of these “brokers” were “placed under telephonic surveillance” in order to “curtail the commitment of criminal offence(s)”.
One of them was Mahadev Ingle, said the report, who had aided the “transfer of officers ranging from inspector rank to senior IPS officers”. According to the report, Ingle allegedly took a contract to transfer 29 police officers, including the deputy inspector general of police, police superintendents, deputy commissioners of police, deputy superintendents of police, assistant police commissioners, and other rank officers.
“He has even arranged the transfer of senior IPS officers, including ADG rank officers like Sandeep Bishnoi, Bipin Kumar Singh, Sanjay Verma, and Vinay Chaubey,” the report said.
It quoted Ingle as saying, “I’ll get the transfers done through the home minister and dada”, with the report noting that “dada” possibly referred to Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra .
“Because he has good rapport with Mr Khade, officer of the anti-corruption department, Ingle is trying to get his transfer done...and the home minister and dada are saying that the work of getting a desirable transfer for Bharat Tangde has been done,” the report said. Bharat Tangde is the deputy commissioner of security at the state home department.
The report also alleged that Ingle would take “Rs 30-40 lakh on average” to orchestrate these transfers.
But when Newslaundry tracked down Ingle, whose phone number was under surveillance, we found that he is a cab driver from Osmanabad’s Kalamb tehsil who ferries passengers in his Swift Dzire to places like Nagpur, Pune and Solapur.
“I don’t have any contact with any police officer or politician,” Ingle told Newslaundry. “I have rented a car from my brother-in-law and drive it for a living. My wife is an anganwadi worker. I earn around Rs 8,000-9,000 by driving my cab.”
While speaking to this reporter on the phone, Ingle broke down. “I am a very poor man, sir, and trying to survive,” he said. “My father died when I was a child and I have been raised in extreme poverty. I have studied till Class 7 and since then, I have been working for a living. I don’t have any connection to any ministers or big people. I have only seen politicians when they come to our place for rallies. I don’t even know any police officers.”
He added: “I am just trying to survive with my family. I haven’t done anything.”
Newslaundry reached out to Rashmi Shukla, who is presently the ADG of the Central Reserve Police Force, but she was unavailable for comment.