Cops recover stolen ‘hawala’ cash; 3 policemen among 7 arrested

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 May 2018 10:36:45


Staff Reporter,

WITH the arrest of seven persons, including three policemen attached to Nandanvan Police Station, and recovery of stolen cash worth Rs 2.55 crore, City Police, on Friday, claimed to have solved the ‘hawala’ cash theft case. Accused Assistant Police Inspector (API), his writer, a police van driver, along with four others, have been arrested for committing dacoity, criminal conspiracy and destroying evidence.

The accused have been identified as Ravi Ramesh Machewar (35), Sachin Narayan Padgilwar (37), Gajanan Bholenath Mungane (27), Prakash Bablu Wasnik (22), all residents of Nandanvan slums, Dr. Ambedkar Square; API Sunil Pandurang Sonawane (44), a resident of Room No. 16, First Floor, Gymkhana, Civil Lines; his writer and constable Vilas Bhaurao Wadekar (39), a resident of Deshraj Nagar, Surendragadh, Katol Road and driver Sachin Shivkaran Bhajbhuje (35), a resident of Plot No. 95, Mahavishnu Nagar, Narsala Road.

Addressing a press conference at Nandanvan Police Station, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Zone IV Nilesh Bharne said, “The theft came to fore when the police announced seizure of Rs 3.18 crore on Sunday morning and a businessman Ali Hussain Jiwani (36), Saifi Nagar, Mominpura, Saifi Building claimed that the cash belonged to him. He had lodged a complaint at the police station and claimed that Rs 2.55 crore was missing from the SUV that the cops had seized.” The cash was seized on early Sunday morning from a Renault Duster SUV (MH 31/FA-4611) coming from Raipur and was intercepted at Prajapati square. Cops had found cash stuffed in customised compartments at the bottom of all four seats. The role of Nandanvan API and others was under scanner since the recovery amount was less than the businessman’s claim.

Bharne said, accused Ravi and Sachin, who had driven the SUV to Nandanvan slums to take out a part of money, were working for API Sonawane as informers since one year. They tipped API Sonawane about a Duster SUV which had been used to transport cash to Nagpur once in a week. “Both are history-sheeters. They had been booked two years ago for conducting fake raids at the house of a politician in Washim district,” Bharne said.

“On April 28, API Sonawane got a tip from Sachin about the Duster coming to Nagpur with crores of rupees. As Sonawane was not on duty, he alerted night officer PSI Sonule and directed him to stop the vehicle. Ravi and Sachin accompanied PSI Sonule to Prajapati Square in a police patrolling vehicle at around 2.15 am,” Bharne said.The team bundled SUV driver Rajesh Mende (40), a resident of Mini Mata Nagar, Kalamna, and Navneet Jain (20), a resident of Tulshi Nagar, in the police vehicle and took possession of the Duster. While the police vehicle went to the Police Station at 3 am Ravi and Sachin drove the SUV in Nandanvan slums where they removed Rs 2.55 crore cash.

A police officer informed the cops that an Ertiga car had followed the SUV in Nandanvan slums. The cash was loaded in the Ertiga probably driven by accused Gajanan Mungne and Prakash Wasnik.“After removing the cash, Sachin and Ravi arrived at Nandanvan Police Station with the SUV. They handed over the SUV to police and drove away in the Ertiga to Bhisi where they gave the cash to Sachin’s father saying that it belonged to their friend. On Sunday morning, the father took the cash to his agriculture land and hid it in a pit,” Bharne added.

Soon, they fled to Aurangabad and stayed for a night. They were on their way to Goa via Pune, Satara and Kolhapur but changed the plan at last moment and went to Mahabaleshwar on Tuesday evening where Satara police nabbed them.The accused were produced in the court which remanded them to seven days police custody. Police had demanded 14 days police custody for recovery of Rs 2 lakh and to find out role of other persons in the crime. Adv Akash Gupta and Adv Hitesh Khandwani assisted prosecution while Adv Chaitanya Barve and Adv Kailash Dodani appeared for the accused.

How the case was cracked

AS INFORMERS Ravi Machewar and Sachin Padgilwar disappeared from the city after cash seizure cops suspected their role in the crime looking at their past records. Police tracked mobile locations of Ravi, Sachin, Gajanan Mungne and Prakash Wasnike to Aurangabad on Monday. A Special team was dispatched and they were arrested from Mahabaleshwar on Tuesday late night, informed DCP Bharne. After studying Call Detail Records (CDRs) of the accused and API Sonawane, senior police officers found out police-criminal nexus in the case. The accused tried to mislead the investigators for two days by cooking different stories. But a ‘professional’ grilling made them spill the beans.Police immediately went to Sachin’s home town Bhisi in Chimur tehsil of Chandrapur and recovered the cash kept in a pit at his agriculture land.

Under the guidance of Commissioner of Police Dr. K. Venkatesham, Joint CP Shivajirao Bodkhe, DCPs (Zone IV) Nilesh Bharne, DCP Detection Sambhaji Kadam, the arrest was made by ACP Kapgate, Senior PI Manik Nalawade, PI Mukund Salunke, APIs Dhadge, Pradip Atulkar, PSI Krishna Sonule, Nagesh Mohole and staff including Ramesh Chikhale, Arun Bante, Anil Karne, Rajesh Bijwe, Sanjay Shahu, Roshan Nimbarte, Sandip Gavali, Chetan Patil, Abhay Marode, Keshav Paradkar, Vishal Pande and others.

Tainted policemen to be suspended

DCP Bharne said that he would issue suspension order of constable Wadekar and driver Bhajbhuje while CP Dr Venkatesham will suspend API Sonawane for committing the crime.

Cops suspecting role of a Dabba trader

Sources informed that the cops were probing role of a Dabba trader who runs the trading network in most parts of the country. “We got inputs that the cash belonged to a city-based Dabba trader. We are investigating his role,” Bharne said.

Ajni police to investigate the case

Senior Police Inspector and In-charge of Ajni Police Station Shailesh Sankhe has been appointed as the Investigation officer (IO) for the dacoity case.


Three more come under I-T scanner

 Business Bureau,

Close on the heels of the search and survey conducted on Manish Khandelwal and CA Abhishek Maheshwari, the Income-Tax Department conducted similar exercise on three traders in connection with the Rs 3.18 crore ‘Hawala’ cash seized by the Nandanvan police. Simultaneous search and seizure operations were conducted at Nagpur and Raipur too to unearth more details. On Friday, at 8 pm, about 15 officials of the Income-Tax Department in city visited residence of Prashant Kesan, Navneet Jain, and Ali Hussain of Mapple Group, sources close to the development disclosed.

The officials confiscated all the documents. They are scanning the documents and bank passbook, of the trio who are also under the police lens. Their bank lockers have also been sealed by the Income-Tax Department. The officials have also taken possession of computers and mobile handsets and scanning ‘Whatsapp,’ SMS and call log. If there are frequents calls from a particular number, the person will be summoned by the officials for the enquiry.

This is for the first time in the history of Income-Tax that unknown names in trade and industry circle are surfacing. Apparently, these persons seem to have maintained low profile in the society. The investigation is being conducted under section 132 and section 133 of Income-Tax Act 1962. They will do assessment of the trio.

The investigation at the residence of Manish Khandelwal was underway on Friday too. The incident has created flutter among the business community on Friday. People were agog to know how many new names are being dig out by the Income-Tax Department in connection with the ‘hawala’ case that has become the talk of the town. Over a period of time, Nagpur has emerged as one of the important cities in the country where businessmen who are concealing real income are facing the music of Income-Tax Department.