Mumbai: Crime Branch police arrested two men on charges of aiding issuance of police e-pass to citizens for inter-district movement based on false information. Police have seized a document issued allegedly by the 'Collector Pune Rural Maharashtra' and are verifying its authenticity. Police suspect that someone from the government office is also involved in this racket of issuing e-pass to citizens for monetary gains.
The arrested suspects have been identified as Ravindra Bhayyusaheb Dhige (39), a resident of Kalyan and Namdev Shankar Dhige (25), a resident of Bhandup West in Mumbai. Primary investigations by the police have revealed that they were active in Ghatkopar area and have issued e-passes based on false information to several persons.
According to police, Ravindra and Namdev are cousins. They were running a racket in Mumbai area of getting e-passes to citizens which are mandatory for any travel from one district to another. The duo used to charge Rs 5,000 for e-pass and Rs 1,000 for COVID-19 negative test certificate. Police had received a tip-off that these two would identify citizens who were desperately looking for permission to travel to another district. A team of Crime Branch Unit 7 comprising of Police Inspector Manish Shridhankar decided to lay a trap for these suspects and nab them. Inspector Shridhankar dialled the number of Ravindra and asked him to arrange for e-passes for two persons.
Ravindra asked Shridhankar to get a COVID-19 negative test certificate, driving license copy, and phone number of the driver. Shridhankar told him that he does not have a COVID-19 negative test certificate and still wants to travel to another district. At this point, Ravindra demanded money - Rs 5,000 for e-pass and Rs 1,000 for the COVID-19 certificate. The suspect also asked Shridhankar to deposit Rs 1000 as the advance amount in his bank account through an online payment mode. Accordingly, Shridhankar transferred the amount. Ravindra then informed him that the e-pass will be sent at the hands of a person from Bhandup. Police laid a trap at Bhandup and nabbed the person sent by Ravindra. The second suspect was identified as Namdev and revealed during interrogation that Ravindra was his cousin.