Nagpur: The city police who had claimed to have exposed ‘hawala’ racket have found themselves on slippery ground. The informers who had tipped about the ‘hawala’ racket hoodwinked the cops and gobbled up over Rs 2.50 crore themselves.
The city police while exposing the ‘hawala’ racket had seized Rs 3.18 crore cash from a car. But in actual, the amount was much more and the informers slyly pocketed over Rs 2.50 crore.
It is pertinent to recall, a team of Nandanvan police had intercepted a Renault Duster car (MH-31/FA-4611) coming from Raipur to city at Prajapati Square. Cops checked the vehicle thoroughly and found customised compartments at bottom of all the four seats of the car stuffed with the cash. At that time, cops had seized Rs 3.18 crore that was suspected to be ‘hawala’ money. But to the bewilderment of higher police officials, it came to the fore on the very next day that the actual cash was to the tune of Rs 5.73 crore. Subsequently, a formal complaint was lodged in this regard and investigations launched.
Informants flee to Mahabaleshwar:
In the meantime, the four informants namely Sachin Padgilwar, Ravi Machewar, Pintu Wasnik, and Gajanan Munmune, ‘rich with hawala money,’ vanished from Nagpur. Fleeing of the informers strengthened the doubts of the cops that something really was fishy in seizure of ‘hawala’ cash. An alert was sounded across Maharashtra. It was later revealed that the four informers were staying in a hotel at resort town Mahabaleshwar. On Tuesday night (May 1), Nagpur police informed Satara Police who latter raided the hotel and rounded up the four accused. The police team recovered Rs 2.80 lakh cash from their possession. The Satara police later handed over the four informers to Nagpur police.
It has got revealed that before reaching Nandanvan Police Station, the informers had taken the Renault Duster car to unidentified place where they siphoned off part of the cash. The job of driving the car was assigned to the informers and not police. After taking the car to an unidentified location, the informers pocketed Rs 2.55 crore concealed in customised compartments at bottom of all the four seats of the car. Later the car was brought to Nandanvan Police Station.
The role of Nandanvan police in the entire episode too is raising eyebrows. An Assistant Police Inspector (API) attached to Nandanvan Police Station and his team members are under scanner following emergence of reports about under reporting of the ‘hawala’ cash seized in city. The team showed on record seizure of Rs 3.18 crore cash seized from the car, while news was making rounds about Rs 5.73 crore cash found in the car.
Commissioner of Police Dr K Venkatesham had ordered an inquiry as gossips within police ranks reached him about dubious role of the team that effected the seizure of ‘hawala’ cash. The person who came forward to claim the haul also claimed that the car was carrying Rs 5.73 crore cash. The role of Nandanvan police team in the cash seizure case came under suspicion when police informers went missing from city.
Senior police officials refused to divulge the details about their ongoing ‘investigation.’ However, they maintained that the Assistant Police Inspector whose team was involved in the seizure was made to sit in the police station throughout the day as Rs 2.55 crore cash was yet to be recovered.