Greater Mumbai: PIL Alleges ‘Widespread Corruption’ in Traffic Police, HC Calls for Response
The Bombay High Court on Friday asked Navi Mumbai and Thane Police to file affidavits in response to a PIL from a Mumbai Police Assistant Deputy Inspector (ASI) seeking an investigation into a ” rampant corruption and extortion syndicate “allegedly carried out under the guise of extortion. towing charges to various entry points and toll nakas in the Greater Mumbai area.
A division bench of Judges AA Sayed and Abhay Ahuja heard a DIP from ASI Sunil Toke who alleged the prevalence of a “union” collecting “protection fees” in Narpoli / Mankoli, Kalwa Kharegaon, Mumbra toll naka and Kalyan Phata, Kapurbawdi / Majiwada, Panvel, Mahape, Kalamboli and Taloja.
The plea, filed through attorney Pradeep Havnur, asserted: âCargo vehicles coming from outside Maharashtra like trucks, tankers, trailers, containers (only huge vehicles, often 12 to 30 wheelers with number plates RJ, GJ, GN, TN, KN, KA, etc) are physically intercepted by traffic officers and local hooligans and towing agencies (crane operators), on instructions from traffic police officers.
The ASI claimed that around 2,700-3,000 receipts (protection receipts) are illegally issued by tow / crane agencies to various locations including Thane, Navi Mumbai etc. resulting in a loss of 7-11 crore of rupees for the public treasury.
He added that the drivers of these trucks / trailers must force-force the amount and be issued a “so-called protection receipt” of Rs 750 or 800 by “towing crane agencies” in the name of “obstruction”. of road “or” road parking “or such fines or sometimes just” towing costs “, mentioning the number of the truck, the date and bearing a signature with phrases such as” on behalf of the Traffic Division “or âAt the request of the Traffic Control Directorate.
âOnce these receipts (protective receipts) are issued, they are checked and confirmed with Thane / Navi Mumbai Traffic Police Department and cargo vehicles are allowed to leave. When stopped, these receipts are displayed indicating that the “protection fee” has been paid and the freight vehicle is cleared to pass, “says PIL.
He adds, âArmed with such a protective receiptâ¦ the heavy transport vehicle is allowed to pass through the Navi Mumbai corridor without any further harassmentâ¦ by traffic police from the Navi Mumbai police station. This protection pass is valid until the vehicle reaches the jurisdiction of the Thane Police Station. Once the boundaries of Thane Police Station begin, this protective receipt can be repeated in the same manner. “
Toke said he filed a detailed complaint with the state’s DGP and the director-general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau on July 31, 2021 to request an investigation into the case, but that she did not received no response, which prompted him to apply to the High Court.
Attaching videos and alleged receipts of such incidents, he requested the registration of an FIR against the perpetrators.
For the state government, lawyer AR Patil said that since the affected areas are within the boundaries of the Navi Mumbai and Thane CPs, they will be made parties to the plea. Patil added that the complaint is pending before the DGP and that the commissioners concerned will attribute it to the officers responsible.
The court allowed three weeks for the affidavits to be filed in response by officers with at least the rank of additional or deputy commissioner of police and issued a new hearing after four weeks.