FPJ Legal: Bombay HC acquits traffic cop who was convicted for demanding monthly hafta from bus owners

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Saturday, September 04, 2021, 08:44 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File Photo

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court bench of Justice Bharati Dangre last month acquitted an assistant police inspector, Mahim Division (Traffic) from a corruption case, wherein he was convicted for demanding 'hafta' from luxury bus owners, who parked their buses under the Elphinstone Bridge. The bench noted that the sanction to prosecute the cop was invalid and thus, his conviction couldn't stand.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Dilip Mandhare, filed through advocate Satyavrat Joshi challenging his conviction under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act and the two years rigorous imprisonment awarded to him by a special anti-corruption court.

Mandhare was booked on a complaint filed by manager of a tours and travels company accusing Mandhare, who was working in the Traffc Department. He claimed that the cop used to charge persons for "No parking" and he demanded an amount of Rs.500 as monthly 'hafta' for not initiating any action against the buses.

In his submissions challenging the conviction, Joshi pointed out that his client's prosecution was sanctioned by the commissioner of police, Mumbai and that he wasn't the competent authority to have accorded the sanction.

Joshi further highlighted that the top cop was holding the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), which is below the rank of Director General of Police (DGP) and the appointing authority of Mandhare being DGP, he is also his removing authority and he could not have been removed by an offcer below the rank of the DGP.

Justice Dangre noted the submissions and also evidence of city's top cop, who testified before the special court that he presumed to be the competent authority and thus accorded the sanction.

"The post of ADGP is subordinate to the post of DGP and it is pertinent to note that the proposal to obtain sanction was forwarded by the ACB to the DGP, when the sanction was sought," the judge noted, adding,"Thus, the sanction granted by Commissioner of Police is, therefore, not a valid sanction."

On this point along with the fact that the major witnesses in the case had turned hostile, Justice Dangre acquitted Mandhare.

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