Free Press Journal

Drug seizure: Arrested cop’s boss shunted out to side branch


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Mumbai: The Marine Drive police station incharge has been transferred after 12 kg of mephedrone drug was found stashed in the official cupboard of a constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe posted here. Pravin Chichalkar, senior inspector with the police station in south Mumbai, has been shifted to Special Branch 1 (SB) last evening, said a senior police officer today. Although no specific reason has been mentioned for his transfer, it is being seen as a punishment posting at the SB office, a unit tasked to gather intelligence information. Head constable Kalokhe, posted at Marine Drive police station was arrested on Monday after 110 kg of mephedrone drug, whose market value runs into “crores of rupees”, was seized from his residence in a village under Khandala taluka in Satara district.

Later, the next day, 12 kg of powder believed to be mephedrone, was seized from Kalokhe’s locked cupboard at Marine Drive police station, along with Rs 30,000 cash. One kg of mephedrone, popularly known as meow-meow and M-Cat, costs Rs 20 lakh. The procedure to dismiss the constable from service is also underway. If proved guilty, Kalokhe may be imprisoned for 10-20 years and fined up to Rs 1 lakh.

Senior police officers were annoyed with Chichalkar, who is a soft spoken officer, for not having an iota of information about the activities of Kalokhe at the police station premises. Kalokhe is presently in the custody of Satara police. An FIR has also been registered against Kalokhe at Marine Drive police station under relevant sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Meanwhile, Satara police has gathered evidence suggesting that the constable was constantly in touch with a woman known as Baby Patankar, who is suspected to be a big-time drug peddler. “The woman under scanner is believed to be a key figure in a statewide drug racket. We are hunting for her. Neither she nor her family members were present when we raided her house in Worli. Our investigation is on right track,” said an officer with Satara police.

The incident has not only embarrassed Mumbai Police but also sent shivers down their spines as Maharashtra Budget Session is underway and cops are worried that the Opposition might create ruckus over the issue. Ironically, Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had launched a special drive to crackdown on drug peddlers in the city soon after taking reins of the department in February last year.