news Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 05:30
The Maharashtra Police arrested one of their own in May, a day before the cop was to retire. On Fathers’ Day, the man’s son put up a Facebook post, unable to keep up the “stoic silence” of the 24 days since the arrest. When newspapers reported Inspector Suhas Gokhale’s May 29 arrest by the Maharashtra Police, they referred to him as an “honest cop”. Gokhale, senior inspector at the Anti Narcotic Cell of the Azad Maidan unit and four others were arrested in Mumbai on charges of helping a drug kingpin. They have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. In the wee hours of Monday morning, his son Saket wrote a Facebook post urging youngsters to tell their fathers that they love them, and to also “speak a word or two for my dad” if they “manage to sum up the courage and do believe in his honesty”. Noting that even the newspapers which reported his arrest “considered to be the Mr. Clean of Maharashtra Police and was an extremely honest officer”, Saket elaborated on how the system had failed his father. He also detailed Gokhale’s poor health in prison, which was worsening on account of the constant court adjournments. "The people of this country rightfully hate corruption and are sick of it. We also know that politicians in India enjoy immense powers which allow them to abuse the system as they please. What hurts me though is the silence of people when someone they know is honest is trampled upon in order to protect the powers that be. It is said "What hundreds must die so Caesar can be great?" As a helpless and broken son I can only remember my father's words when I met him two days ago. I saw him weeping after a long time and all he kept saying was "What was my mistake Saket? That I was honest?" I did not have an answer for him. Because the same people that express wholehearted support for a drunken movie star who kills people don't find it worth their time to speak up for an honest man. We want honest officers but we never ask a single question to our politicians when these honest officers are ruthlessly trampled upon. " Saket Gokhale  The post went viral. Amidst the barrage of comments were suggestions for a petition on Change.org. What the case is all about According to The Indian Express, Gokhale and the others arrested along with him had allegedly helped mephedrone (called meow meow in Mumbai) supplier Baby Patankar evade arrest for more than a month. “Gokhale told Patankar to switch off her cell phone and run away and helped her escape from police. Crime branch wants to investigate his links with Patankar,” Public Prosecutor Kiran Bendbhar told the court. Saket agrees that his Facebook post may influence public opinion in a case which was sub-judice. He told The News Minute that it was not intended to, but was an outpouring “from the heart”. Saket maintains that his father is innocent. On March 9, head police constable of the Marine Drive police station Dharma Kalokhe was arrested by the Satara Police, on suspicion of mephedrone (MD) possession. It was this arrest that led to the arrests of Gokhale and four others in later in May. Police found 140 kilos of a substance that looked like MD in his cupboard in the police station, allegedly linked with Baby Patankar. Saket claims that his father had opened Kalokhe’s cupboard at the police station on the insistence of his superiors that there was MD in it. Gokhale had initially sniffed the substance, and his lawyer told the court that “he had told the officers that it could be Ajinomoto but only Mephedrone was noted down.” The samples were reportedly found to be Ajinomoto (a substance used in certain food preparations) and not MD. More samples are being sent for testing. Saket mentions that his father could be considered an “expert” on the drug. “Ironically, my father is an expert witness in a case where he is an accused. He was largely responsible for getting the drug banned in February and campaigned for it. Several newspapers quoted him as he knew what he was talking about,” he says. Five days prior to Kalokhe’s arrest in March, Saket claims his father had received a tip-off about the consignment of the alleged narcotics and told the DCP about it. He claims that his father was told to “hold off” on the case and three days later, the arrest was made by the Satara district police. On March 12, while on leave in Nasik, Saket claims his father got a phone call from someone who said she was Baby Patankar, but he asked for her location, she reportedly hung up on him. He also mentions that Gokhale and Patankar exchanged calls as “my father wanted to confirm that the number was indeed hers and he wanted to be sure this time after being asked to hold back previously.” Saket claims that his father provided the police with the number “within 48 hours”, which led to his arrest. A report in Mid-day quotes a police officer saying that “over-smartness displayed by Gokhale led us to suspect that he was in touch with Patankar. He gave the information at a time when the entire department was looking for clues about her.” Saket however, maintains that his father was not named by Patankar or Kalokhe post their arrest, an argument which Gokhale’s lawyer too, made in court. Saket says that the system “looks to make a scapegoat” and that his father was one. “My father was an officer with stars on his shoulder, I feel scared thinking what would happen to a common man,” he says. Here is Saket's Facebook post:   I've maintained a stoic silence for the past few days but I find it unable to keep quiet anymore. Today is Father's Day... Posted by Saket Gokhale on Sunday, June 21, 2015  
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