Corruption in traffic police: Bombay HC gets tough, asks ACB to look into constable’s allegations

Corruption in traffic police: Bombay HC gets tough, asks ACB to look into constable's allegations
Representational Image. Courtesy: Reuters

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Additional Director General of the state’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) to supervise the inquiry into the alleged corruption charges leveled on the traffic police by a constable earlier this month.

Head constable Sunil Toke had filed a PIL in the court, alleging rampant corruption in Mumbai’s traffic department and sought registration of FIR and a departmental enquiry against the accused officials.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Additional Public Prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik told a division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi that Toke had already been referred to the ACB, which had already started conducting the inquiry under the supervision of additional commissioner of police.

However, owing to the serious nature and scope of the offence, the court noted that it would be better if the Additional Director General of the ACB supervised the inquiry instead.

“We direct the additional DG to submit a progress report within six weeks. We want a high-ranking officer to look into the allegations as the petition has set out cognisable offences against specific traffic police officials,” the bench said.

Toke had joined service in 1985 and is currently attached with Armed Police Force of Worli division. He was posted with the Goregaon traffic police and then the Wadala traffic police between 2013 and 2016.

In his petition, Toke said that he was shocked to see the rampant corruption in the traffic department during his tenure.

“The traffic police take money from trucks which ply sand illegally, trucks which evade octroi, trucks which carry construction material, illegal parking, drunken driving and so on,” he had alleged in the petition, adding that officials collect Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 from four star and five star hotels for allowing illegal parking.

“There are thousands of illegal taxis and autorickshaws plying in the city without requisite permissions. The traffic police collect Rs 1000-2000 from each such vehicle every month and allows them to ply,” the petition claimed.

It also alleged that during nakabandi for drunken driving, only five to ten cases out of 50 are officially registered and the offenders subsequently persecuted. “In the other cases, amounts of Rs 10000 to Rs 50000 are taken by the traffic police depending on who the offender is,” it added.

Apart from sharing a ‘bribe rate-card’, the constable also submitted a list of complaints against other policemen, including his seniors, from the traffic department.

The court has asked Toke to cooperate with the ACB’s investigation by recording his statement and sharing additional evidence that he has collected.

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