Mumbai: Taxi driver arrested for impersonating police officer and demanding money from bookmakers

Mumbai: In rather bizarre and comical news, the Mumbai Police arrested a private taxi driver for allegedly impersonating a policeman and trying to extort money from bookmakers at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. The accused was allegedly wearing the uniform of a retired sub-inspector, with whom he was acquainted, while he demanded money from bookmakers last week.

The cops identified the accused as Santosh Mahadev Sawant, a resident of Kannamwar Nagar in Vikhroli. The accused was reportedly a frequent visitor to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, where he bet on horses. In recent months, he had lost a large sum of money, police said, reported The Indian Express.

“Sawant entered the racecourse premises, following which he approached two bookmakers and started demanding money from them. The two felt something amiss, as they were legitimate bookmakers. They had also seen him earlier. So, instead of entertaining him, they intimated the police control room,” an officer from the Tardeo police station said.

Staff from the nearest patrol van were dispatched to the spot, and after preliminary investigations, the accused was taken to the police station, police said. “Sawant fumbled on being asked where he was posted. After being brought to the police station, he was arrested,” an officer said.

The accused (Sawant) reportedly told police that he was a tourist cab driver. He told them that his wife was pregnant and, so, he needed the money. According to the police, he also said that he had always wanted to be a cop, which led to him posing as a police official.

“Sawant is a BCom graduate, but he couldn’t pass his written Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exams. As pressure was mounting on him to start earning, he began working as a tourist cab driver,” said an officer. A retired policeman, who is a relative of Sawant’s, reportedly lent him the uniform.

Senior police inspector Sanjay Surve, from the Tardeo police station, confirmed the arrest and said the matter is under investigation. The accused has been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code related to cheating. He was produced in court, and later remanded in judicial custody.

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