National

Police informers waging war against the nation

Police, intelligence, security agencies and army have raised a legion of informers who are usually illiterate petty criminals and loafers. These characters have to justify their salaries and perks by feeding fictitious and fancy information to their handlers and use their position to make money on the sly through blackmail, crime and implicating innocents at the behest of others

It is a sad day that police have nurtured informants into waging war against the nation! Sajid Shaikh overheard three Kashmiri men in Secunderabad in January 2006. They were hatching a conspiracy against India. Hundreds of miles away from there the police in Mumbai arrested the three Kashmiris. Sajid also implicated Imam Maulana Yahyah Baksh of the Haj House in Mumbai for harbouring the three Kashmiris. The imam was arrested on January 14, 2006. Sajid then had boasted, “I got the Kashmiri terrorists arrested.” The imam was acquitted in 2010 but the three were sentenced to seven years in jail. Some arms and explosives were “recovered” from them.

It is usual that the Kashmiri people speak in Kashmiri language and not in Urdu among themselves. Why should the three speak a very grave matter in Urdu so loudly that Sajid the informer could overhear them? That too on a platform rather than in an alcove or a closet!

On September 8, 2006 bombs went off at the graveyard mosque of Malegaon and at Mushawarat Chowk. The police were absent from both the sites. This is not as eerie as Sajid knowing that the people who planted the bombs had come there to reconnoitre the scene on the pretext that they were searching suitable girls for marriage! If this much is the trailer that has come out then this police informant must have the whole film for the court to hear. He has claimed to know the inside story of the blasts! He claims that he joined the ATS on September 8, 2006 and since then he worked for them. Similarly he had joined not just the ATS, the Crime Branch of Mumbai and even the Intelligence Bureau to report what he was snooping. He had joined them on January 6, 20006 for the Haj House melodrama. He must have been a cloak and dagger type of police spy. Only a detective or a Bollywood thriller is the refuge of such a person!

As he hails from Azadnager area of Malegaon, it is worth to know that his environs make him a suspect. The area abounds in antisocial elements including informers, gamblers, absconders, and extortionists. Though this does not mean that all the people there are like these. On May 15, 2006 the police reportedly broke open a shop under the very nose of the police station there at 11 in the night. They seized arms, ammunitions and explosives. They held a hurried press conference after only an hour and half. The present MLA Mufti Ismail was called several miles away from the scene of seizure of arms to witness the haul. No one was called to bear witness and verify what the police took from the shop at the time of breaking open the shutters. Thereafter, Sajid was involved in extortion and cases were registered against him including that of assault. After that he disappeared in the murky depth.

Suddenly Sasjid came out of his hibernation on January 21. 2011. This time he himself planted bombs at a garage in Malad and got three brothers arrested. But a man saw him planting the bombs so the police arrested him. Mehmood and his wife Irfana had purchased a house from one Rashid. The earlier owners were the three brothers of Rashid who jointly owned it. This is how the additional commissioner of police Ramrao Pawar in charge of the northern region put it: “At Irfana’s home they (Irfana and Sajid, etc,) hatched a plan to implicate Rashid’s three brothers so that they (the three brothers) would end up behind bars and they (Irfana and her husband Mehmood) would get the property.” A plot within a plot, the eighteenth century dramatists would fade out of memory if you unravel this taking place in Malad.

All these personae are from Malegaon and performed their intrigues in Mumbai. But this was not the most melodramatic part. The police had slapped Sajid with the charge of “waging war against the nation.” This intriguing comedy had to end with a whimper, a bathos, when theHindustan Times reporter would give a running commentary on it: “But a tea vendor, who saw them (Sajid and company) place the bags, informed Salim, Hanif and Hafiz (the three brothers), and they assumed that their brother (Rashid) had performed black magic and disposed off the bags in a creek behind Inorbit Mall.” The drama of the absurd does not end here. For the police reappear. They said the next day that Sajid Shaikh was not slammed with the heinous act of “waging war against the nation”. That would have made it a problem play, if not for the audience, at least for the cops in the gallery.

One more sop fed to the media: it is not any news to the wary how Sajid was extorting money as is seen in what inspector Deepak Phatangare says: “Sajid would warn his targets that he could implicate them in cases filed with the CBI or the ATS. The residents were too scared to protest. Finally, in 2007, one of his targets lodged a complaint with the local police claiming that Sajid had demanded Rs 1 lakh from him. The police arrested Sajid, but he was later released on bail,” Every day the police are revealing a little about Sajid. What is the police strategy behind the trickle release to the mainstream newspapers? Do they take the public for granted? What else is it than an ipso facto justification of what the informer has been doing and saving him departmentally? Even the director general of police of Maharashtra said that he was unaware of the slapping of “waging war against the nation” charge! Good example of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing! Good way of conducting investigation in serious crimes like terrorism!              

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2011 on page no. 6

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