The preliminary probe revealed that five others assisted the accused officer.
Mumbai: The Palghar police arrested their own officer after seized foreign-made cigarettes to the tune of Rs 2.16 crore went missing from Waliv police station, which he allegedly sold to make easy money. The preliminary probe revealed that five others assisted the accused officer. A high-level enquiry has been initiated against the six personnel.
The said officer was identified as Sharif Shaikh, attached with the Waliv police station, which had seized contraband of the Gudang Garam cigarettes in December 2018. The police said that 150 sack bags containing cardboard boxes holding the packets all worth Rs 3. 24 crore were seized.
The cigarette packets were kept in the storage room (muddemal room) at the police station while the investigation was underway. The officials said that the packets were there since December 2018 till September 6, when some of them were found missing. The preliminary probe was conducted when it came to the fore that the seized items were tampered with by the police themselves.
“We found 100 sack bags missing from the seized items. The theft had taken place over the period and in smaller quantities to avoid getting noticed,” said an officer of Palghar police.
After Shaikh was found to be involved in the theft, the probe was extended and at least five others were found to have assisted him. An internal enquiry is underway against all the accused persons, officials said. Shaikh played major role in the crime and hence he was arrested.
The officials said that there were past instances in connection with the loss of seized items, whi-ch will also be investigated to ascertain if Shaikh and other personnel were involved in them too.
A case has been filed against Shaikh and others under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) as per the Indian Penal Code. Shaikh has been remanded to police custody till Monday for further probe.