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Commandos Extort Bribes From Traffic Offenders In Vashi

Carbine-totting commandos posted to keep a watch on terror suspects are engaged in extorting slush money from traffic offenders in Navi Mumbai, the Mumbai Mirror newspaper has exposed. These commandos roam around in pairs on
PTI September 28, 2010 10:58 IST
PTI
Carbine-totting commandos posted to keep a watch on terror suspects are engaged in extorting slush money from traffic offenders in Navi Mumbai, the Mumbai Mirror newspaper has exposed.

These commandos roam around in pairs on their bikes. According to their job description, they are supposed to stop only suspicious-looking motorists or pedestrians and check their credentials. However, far from doing their job, they prefer to park themselves on the road connecting Vashi and Sanpada Railway Stations in sector 30A, Vashi.

The Mumbai Mirror team caught them in action on Monday. Two commandos at the spot stopped bikers, mostly youngsters, and asked them for their vehicle documents. Those without helmets and riding triple seat were asked to shell out Rs 100 each. The ones who did not have their documents in place were made to pay Rs 500.

In a span of around 40 minutes, the cops kept themselves busy with six bikers. One of the bikers who could not shell out Rs 500 for not possessing his documents was asked to leave his bike and get the money.

"What option do we have? We were riding triple seat when the cops caught us. They said it was a special naka bandi and demanded Rs 100. Since they were carrying carbines we did not fuss and gave the sum," said Vinod S, a Sanpada resident. Another resident Girish narrated that he had been caught for not carrying his registration papers. "They asked me to pay up Rs 500. I tried negotiating because I was obviously in the wrong. But they refused to budge and I had to pay up," he said.

Sources at Turbhe Police Station explained that the commandos, who had gone through rigorous training, were brought in to curb the chain snatching and bike theft menace.  

"Since in most of these crimes the offenders got away on bike and regular cops were unable to nab them, it was felt that commandos will do a better job. They are also used extensively during nakabandis where an officer heads the team," said an officer. He explained that the commandos were specially given to Turbhe Police Station because offenders from other areas too use roads passing through the area to get out of Navi Mumbai.

Interestingly, the commandos position themselves cleverly at the same spot on the road where nakabandi teams are posted during special drives, giving motorists an impression that they have the authority to check each and every vehicle.

Prakash More, senior inspector of Turbhe Police Station, was visibly disturbed at this news. "I will take strictest action possible against these cops. They are supposed to check only those who seem suspicious and not trouble unsuspecting citizens."