During her interrogation, drug peddler Shashikala alias Baby Patankar told Mumbai crime branch investigators she had been given a negligible share of the money her accomplices had made from the business.
The accomplices are five arrested policmen identified as Senior Police Inspector Suhas Gokhale (Anti Narcotics Cell), suspended police inspector Gautam Gaikwad, Police Sub-Inspector Sudhakar Sarang, Assistant Sub Inspector Jyotiram Mane and head constable Yeshwant Parate.
“One of Patankar’s relatives himself got addicted to drugs. After seeing his condition, she wanted to quit, but claimed she was forced to continue the business by the arrested cops,” said a crime branch source. “It was a perfect setting for them, as Patankar was a known dealer, aware of all the customers and fellow peddlers who could push the drugs”.
During the interrogation, Patankar also revealed that the five accomplices would keep a major share of the money and give her a small amount. “These claims won’t be taken at face value. We are verifying them,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) KMM Prasanna. He further added: “We arrested the policemen after we were sure of their involvement. The crime branch has been working on the leads for the past two months”.
According to the crime branch, the five cops tried to shield Patankar ever since she was wanted in the case, fearing her arrest would blow the lid off their racket. “Gaikwad, Parthe and Mane wanted to boot Kaloke from the business. Mane would keep Patankar’s drugs with him, but after she and Kalokhe fell in love, Mane was sidelined by Patankar, who wanted more profits for Kalokhe,” an officer said. He further added: “They wanted to get Kalokhe arrested but keep Patankar safe. For that, they approached Pune customs with the tipoff against Kalokhe, as the customs would not go into detailed investigations and Patankar’s name would never surface.”