Navi Mumbai bogus ration cards case: HC summons police officer

Last Updated: Monday, March 8, 2010 - 17:59

Mumbai: The Bombay High court on Monday summoned
the police officer who had earlier investigated the Navi
Mumbai bogus ration cards case saying that the way the probe
into the case was handled was a "very sorry state of affairs".

Fake cards were allegedly used to facilitate bogus voting
in 2009 Lok Sabha polls by NCP workers. NCP`s Sanjeev Naik was
elected from this constituency.

High Court last year transferred probe to CID. But the
division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and R G Ketkar was
shocked to learn today that police inspector Sunil Khaladkar,
the earlier investigation officer, didn`t take objection when
an accused filed bail application.

The probe, started after complaint filed by Shiv Sena
worker Shirish Gharat, had led police to Santosh Mhatre, NCP
worker, who allegedly procured some 5000 bogus cards.

But Magistrate gave bail to Mhatre last May, noting that
"though offence was serious, the investigation officer did not
oppose the bail application".

Gharat`s petition in High Court, seeking transfer of
probe, was pending then.

After reading the bail order today, High Court asked
public prosecutor: "Does it satisfy your conscience... the way
he has conducted the investigation?"

Khaladkar, now with extortion cell of Navi Mumbai crime
branch, should remain present on March 11, court said.
Noting that when bail application came up before the
magistrate, the present petition by Gharat was pending in the
High Court, judges said "after that he had the guts to say he
had no objection".

If this was Khaladkar`s "generous attitude towards
Mhatre, a mere (political) worker, what do you expect if it is
a high official or a minister?" judges asked.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor Dinesh Adsule told the court
that as per the court`s earlier directions, CID has recorded
the statement of NCP MP Sanjeev Naik.

The fake ration cards were allegedly used to establish
identity of bogus voters. Gharat, the petitioner, has alleged
that Sanjeev Naik, and his father, state minister Ganesh Naik,
were involved in the conspiracy.

PTI




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